DUNCANVILLE, TX -- After searching for a missing great-grandfather for days, a Duncanville family said their loved one was found dead in a creek not far from his home.
Juan Perez, 84, had been struggling with dementia and wandered off Monday morning. His family said he was found face-down Thursday in the creek near the intersection of Santa Fe Trail and Danieldale Road.
Duncanville Police confirmed the discovery of a body at the location and said that the family had been notified, but neither the department nor the Dallas County Medical Examiner have confirmed the identity of the person.
The Perez family said they know it is their loved one, a father of seven children.
"He didn't have to die the way that he did," said Jeannie Perez Stine, his youngest daughter. "I guess he slipped and fell."
Perez went missing on his birthday.
"We were expecting to go have dinner at my sister's that evening," said Perez Stine.
She said her father was often disoriented and forgetful, but until Monday, he had never wandered from home. He lived with her and her family in a home on Green Way Drive.
She said she kept a close watch over her father, but that morning she was still asleep when he walked out the door and disappeared.
The family launched a frantic search, posting flyers and searching with police all week. They were out until 3 o'clock Thursday morning.
"Searched and searched and searched and searched," said Perez Stine. "I had hope."
Stine is mourning a father that she called her best friend. And she warned others with loved ones suffering from Alzheimer's and dementia that you can't look away, even for a moment.
"It's a 24-hour job," she said. "You can't do it all by yourself. Because something like this could happen, and it makes you feel pretty responsible."
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