KAILUA-KONA — It’s been one month to the day since South Kona woman Deborah “Debby” Wiley wandered away from her Captain Cook home and hasn’t returned.
Since then, family and friends have gathered in search parties to look for the 67-year-old woman, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. Hawaii County Police has assisted by utilizing scent-discriminating canine and Hawaii County Fire Department personnel and its helicopter. The FBI and U.S. Coast Guard have also aided in their efforts, but to no avail.
“We feel she’s still alive,” Jim Wiley said Tuesday, Debbie Wiley’s husband of 40 years. “She may be out in the area hiding or she may have caught a ride to another part of the island, which may not be informed she’s missing.”
Debbie Wiley was last seen by her husband around 5 p.m. on May 13 in the yard of their home near Hind Road in Captain Cook. While search efforts have scaled back, Jim Wiley said, there was a group of four that went out Tuesday to look for signs of his wife in Captain Cook and Kainaliu.
To cover their bases, Jim Wiley said his family has put up “missing person” flyers in Hilo, Waimea and Ocean View.
For the past six months, Debbie Wiley had been wandering off within a half mile from her home.
“In the past people would bring her home,” Jim Wiley said. “She didn’t do it on a regular basis, but she had been doing it on a frequency of once or twice a month.”
Jim Wiley had his wife wear a tracker watch a month before she disappeared. However, he said she didn’t like it and she cut it off.
“Not knowing what’s happened is the difficult thing,” Jim Wiley said. “We haven’t gotten that feeling of it being suspicious. There has been no signs of foul play.”
As she is in need of taking daily medication, it is critical that Debby Wiley be found.
“Medications are to slow down the progress of Alzheimer’s,” Jim Wiley said. “She might have problems with greater confusion. She’s already dealing with that to some extent.”
Hawaii Police Maj. Robert Wagner said authorities spent more than a week trying to find Debbie Wiley.
“We had the fire department chopper fly the area,” Wagner said. “The Coast Guard chopper also flew the areas. We had the FBI fly the area as well.”
Jim Wiley said there haven’t been any new leads on his wife’s whereabouts for a while.
Debby Wiley 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 police. Debbie Wiley was last reportedly sighted on May 16 in the area of Captain Cook Road A wearing a camouflage style hat.
As the search continues for his wife, Jim Wiley asks landowners to be observant for signs of someone on their property.
“If people were to see her then call the police immediately and try to keep track of her,” he said.
Jim Wiley added that upwards of 100 0r more people have given their time to search for his wife.
“Our family is very appreciative of the support the community has given us so far,” he said. “It’s been overwhelming.”
Anyone with information on Debby Wiley’s whereabouts should contact the police department’s nonemergency line at 935-3311 or Detective David Matsushima via email at David.Matsushima@hawaiicounty.gov or at 326-4646 ext. 224.
Those who receive reports of sightings or other information are asked to pass that on by calling search headquarters, Lanakila Church in Kainaliu at 322-3346.
More information: The family is using the hashtag #bringdebbyhome on Facebook and Instagram to provide updates and coordinate search efforts. There also is a Facebook page named “Deborah Debby Wiley” and email address firstname.lastname@example.org.