CAPTAIN COOK — A loving wife, mother and grandmother suffering from Alzheimer’s disease remains missing after wandering from her home on Mother’s Day.
Deborah “Debby” Wiley, 67, was last seen by her husband of 40 years, Jim Wiley around 5 p.m. on Sunday in the yard of their home near Hind Road in Captain Cook. Jim Wiley said his wife, a retired state public health nurse who has had Alzheimer’s for about eight to nine years, has “wandered off before, but has never been lost where we can’t find her.”
“She’s a special lady to many people that are praying that she can come home safe,” Wiley said Tuesday afternoon as the search ran a second day. Later that evening, members of the family’s church, Lanakila Church in Kainaliu, gathered to pray for Debby Wiley’s homecoming.
“We’re flooded with gratitude for the church and the community,” said her son, Justin Wiley. “We all have to believe that she will come home.”
Jim Wiley said he reported his wife missing around 6 p.m. Sunday, and since then, there has been no sign of the mother of two and grandmother of three. That’s despite two days of aerial and ground searches by police and canvassing by family, friends and others in the South Kona community, who’ve also distributed missing person fliers.
“I don’t know what’s happened since Sunday,” he said. “For two days now, she’s been missing. Where might she have ended up?”
Debby Wiley, who is also in need of medication, is described as being 5 feet, 3 inches tall, weighing 140 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing a dark blue-colored long-sleeved shirt, blue jeans and grayish-white tennis shoes, according to the Hawaii Police Department, which as been on the case since Sunday evening.
Anyone with information on her whereabouts is urged to contact the Hawaii Police Department’s nonemergency line at 935-3311 or Detective David Matsushima at 326-4646, ext. 224, or David.Matsushima@hawaiicounty.gov.
“We’re just looking hoping that people can help us find her,” Jim Wiley said.
Debbie Baxter is organizing search efforts. If anyone is able to help, contact her at 938-1120.
A retired Konawaena High School chemistry teacher, Jim Wiley said he believes the last sighting of Debby Wiley was likely shortly before 6 p.m. Sunday, at a residence off Mamalahoa Highway, about 1.5 miles north of the couple’s home mauka of Yano Hall.
“She approached at least one, or maybe, two people in the St. John’s Road area, but she didn’t stay long enough for them to help her, and she disappeared,” Jim Wiley said.
It’s believed that while in that area she ran into resident Ken Love, who lives off Mamalahoa Highway in the vicinity of St. John’s Road.
“It was definitely her,” Love said, noting Debby Wiley looks younger than her age of 67.
He said the woman came down his driveway and told him her parents were getting a divorce. He asked what made her think he could help her, and then she left, heading back up the driveway while saying something along the lines that she did not want to disturb his family. He asked her if she wanted to talk, but she kept walking.
Unbeknownst to him at the time, Debby Wiley had been missing for less than an hour. Love posted his interaction with the woman to social media, and through friends learned he likely encountered Debby Wiley.
“I didn’t pay attention, and then I thought something didn’t seem right so I put something up on Facebook,” he said.
Police talked to Love later that evening and he’s been assisting Jim Wiley, whom he hadn’t met before Sunday, since.
“I saw her last and felt I should help,” Love said Tuesday as the search progressed.
Area II Criminal Investigation Section Lt. Sherry Bird said Tuesday that police received unconfirmed reports Monday that Debby Wiley was spotted in the area between Kealakekua Bay and Keala O Keawe Road. A helicopter, detectives and police dogs canvassed the area on Monday and turned up no sign of the woman.
On Tuesday, officers hit the ground with the dogs, but again were unable to locate Debby Wiley, said Bird. Checks with stores and gas stations along the route have also deemed fruitless.
“Yesterday and today (Tuesday), myself and the detectives were out searching as far as we can,” Bird said. “We have covered a wide perimeter, from Honalo to Keala O Keawe Road.”
When asked how residents in the area can help, she said they should can their eyes open for Debby Wiley and also survey their property for signs of the missing women. Much of the area is farm land with residences.
“If they can just take a walk and check it out,” Bird said, noting that Debby Wiley could be injured somewhere or taking shelter.