Mentally disabled man goes missing in S.F.By Erin Allday
Barbara Lamascus has four grown sons, six grandchildren and one great-grandchild - Mother's Day should have been full of joy, surrounded by family.
Instead, she spent Sunday calling hospitals and homeless shelters, and wandering around San Francisco peering into the faces of men on the street wrapped in blankets and newspapers. She was looking for her son Bobby Joe Lamascus, 50 years old and mentally disabled.
He disappeared Thursday while on a trip to San Francisco with his San Bruno group home. It's not clear how he went missing and even where he was last seen.
"He always calls me up in the morning and says happy Mother's Day," said Barbara Lamascus, 73. "He calls me three times a week. He doesn't really care about the conversation, he just wants to talk."
Bobby Joe is tall and thin, and missing all of his top teeth - Barbara Lamascus has bought him dentures but he keeps throwing them out, she says with a small laugh. She doesn't know for sure what he was wearing the day he disappeared, but it was almost certainly jeans and a brown jacket, because that is what he wears every day.
He has severe epilepsy and takes medication every four hours to help prevent seizures, which can occur as often as every few minutes. That's what scares her the most, Lamascus said: "We're checking the hospitals every day."
How he went missing is still a frustrating mystery, said Lamascus and two of her sons, who helped her search all weekend. Bobby Joe and four or five other residents of his home were on a regular trip to San Francisco to work for a few hours on Thursday. About 1:30 p.m., they stopped somewhere on Geary Boulevard, but staff at the group home have told police and the Lamascuses different versions of where they stopped and why.
When staff members called police two hours after Bobby Joe disappeared, they said that the group had stopped for a bathroom break at Geary Boulevard and Scott Street, and that Bobby Joe went into the men's room and never came back to the van. On Saturday, fully two days after Bobby Joe had disappeared, the man who was driving the van told the family that the group had stopped for lunch at an intersection one block east, at Geary Boulevard and Divisadero Street, and that Bobby Joe left to buy cigarettes and never returned.
Barbara Lamascus said Sunday she couldn't remember the full name of the group home, but said it has the name Acacia in it. A message left on an answering machine at a home with that name, in San Bruno, was not immediately returned Sunday.
What Lamascus knows for sure is that the group home didn't call to tell her that her son was missing until Friday morning, about 16 hours after he disappeared.
"We could have been up here (on Thursday)," said Lamascus, who lives in San Jose and started searching for her son on Friday, after she learned he was missing.
On Sunday morning, Lamascus and her sons Richard and Jim drove San Francisco from Fisherman's Wharf to Golden Gate Park - Jim Lamascus said that by noon, he had driven 100 miles. It's easier, he said, with more people in the car, so they can stare out the windows and improve their chances of spotting his brother.
Later, they walked around the Western Addition neighborhood where Bobby Joe disappeared, handing out flyers and talking to employees at fast-food restaurants and liquor stores, anywhere he might have stopped.
"It's a worst-case scenario, that the place where he went missing is in the middle of the city. He could be anywhere," Jim Lamascus said. "He could have gotten on a bus to Oakland, he could have gotten on BART. He might just be doing his own thing in a coffee shop somewhere."
Bobby Joe is able to take care of himself, his mother said - he knows her phone number and calls her regularly from pay phones, and almost every day he leaves his group home to buy coffee or cigarettes on his own.
He likes to walk, she said, but he's never wandered away for long. On the few occasions he's gotten lost, he either called his mom or brothers or found a police officer to help.
Barbara Lamascus said her son isn't often easy to be around - he doesn't make friends and he has a short temper. But he's close to his mother. They have a standing date every Saturday, when she picks him up at the home and takes him out to breakfast and lunch.
"He wouldn't ever miss his Saturday, unless something was wrong," Barbara Lamascus said, walking past a park on Geary, where children were playing baseball Sunday afternoon. "I don't want to say what I think happened to him. I'm trying to stay positive."
Have you seen him?
Bobby Joe Lamascus is 6 feet tall and weighs about 150 pounds. He has no upper teeth. He most likely is wearing jeans and a brown jacket. He was last seen on Geary Boulevard around Scott or Divisadero streets.
Anyone with information about Lamascus should contact the San Bruno Police Department at (650) 616-7100.
Copyright ©2008 San Francisco Chronicle. Published 05/12/2008.