Kentucky family of missing brain-injured man offers reward

Ward of state was living at care home

vhoneycutt@herald-leader.comSeptember 1, 2011 

Larry Lee, 32, lived in a Falmouth facility as ward of state.

Family members of a brain-injured man who has been missing since Aug. 4 from a Pendleton County personal-care home say he might have made his way to Lexington.

They are offering a $3,500 reward for information that leads to finding him, said his sister, Melissa Knight of Lebanon.

Larry Lee, 32, has been a ward of the state for years as part of a severe brain-injury program. He was living at Falmouth Nursing Home, which provides care for people who need some assistance but not full-time nursing care.

Lee has brain injuries, is schizophrenic, bipolar and diabetic, and his health is in danger without medication.

Lee reportedly was seen at the Community Inn in Lexington, a homeless shelter on Winchester Road, around Aug. 20, Knight said.

Since then, the family has received no valid information about his whereabouts.

"We are at a dead end," she said.

Among those who have been actively searching for Lee is Deborah Anderson, commissioner of the state Department for Aging and Independent Living, the agency that oversees state wards

Anderson "has personally walked the streets with us and tried to make contacts and follow up on leads and tried to do everything she can do to help us find him," Knight said.

Knight said at least four other staff members from the agency's Division of Guardianship have been "walking the streets" and handing out fliers that publicize Lee's disappearance.

Cabinet for Health and Family Services' spokeswoman Jill Midkiff said Anderson and her staff had been searching in Fayette and surrounding counties and had been interviewing people at shelters in those counties.

Midkiff said the commissioner and her staff were distributing fliers statewide to hospitals, shelters and law enforcement.

Knight said volunteers from the Kentucky Bloodhound Search and Rescue program and their dogs tracked Lee's scent last week from the personal care home to a spot about three miles from Falmouth on Ky. 27, then on Ky. 22 in Harrison County toward Lexington and to the shelter on Winchester Road in Lexington.

Knight said staff at the Falmouth Nursing Home noticed Lee was gone Aug. 4 when they went to his room to give him medication.

The Cabinet for Health and Family Services' Office of Inspector General has been investigating the circumstances surrounding the disappearance, as have Falmouth police. The Falmouth Nursing Home is owned by We-Care Inc.

Lexington police spokeswoman Sherelle Roberts said Wednesday that the department was assisting in the search in a "limited capacity" by keeping an eye out for Lee.

Midkiff said anyone who sees Lee is asked to call law enforcement in their area.

They also may call Falmouth police at (859) 654-3300 or Knight at (270) 692-8230.

Reach Valarie Honeycutt Spears at (859) 231-3409 or 1-800-950-6397, Ext. 3409.

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