Missing Los Altos Hills Man Found Safe

The Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office cancelled an alert after the missing man returned home on foot Tuesday afternoon, more than a day after he disappeared Sunday.


A Los Altos Hills man who disappeared on foot Sunday, prompting an emergency alert and helicopter searches for him, returned home Tuesday afternoon the same way.

"He was a voluntary missing," said Capt. Ken Binder of the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office. Binder said he cancelled the alert that had been sent out about 10 a.m. Tuesday for Richard Lynch, 62.

Lynch's wife had contacted the Sheriff's Office at about 10 a.m. Monday, Binder said, after Lynch had failed to return home Sunday. He had last been seen Sunday, walking on West Loyola Drive near Eastbrook Drive in Los Altos Hills, not far from his home.

He often hiked in Rancho San Antonio Park, which has trailheads close by, and deputies tracked his scent with canines into the open space preserve. Deputies had searched the immediate area, sent up a helicopter during the day and deployed a heat-sensing device to no avail.

By Tuesday morning, Binder said he deployed an AlertSCC message, which delivers emergency messages via phone and email to residents who sign up for the service. The alert was sent out in a five-mile radius, encompassing Los Altos Hills, Cupertino, and Mountain View, he said. 

They also contacted neighborhood associations and prepared a flyer, asking neighbors to be on the lookout, and supplying a detailed description of height, build and the clothing he was wearing.

Within a couple of hours, the missing person case was resolved happily.

"Today, while our deputies were talking to the wife, the gentleman walked back home," Binder said.

Lynch, who had not carried a mobile phone, had carried his wallet. "He seemed like he'd been taking care of himself, and didn't have any obvious medical issues at all," Binder said. 

There were no law enforcement issues to resolve and the case was reclassified as a "voluntary missing," Binder said. 

Pam Marino July 10, 2012 at 10:10 PM
Glad he made it home O.K.
Pat Dowling July 11, 2012 at 12:30 AM
Hmmm....thoughtfulness doesn't appear to be a hallmark of Mr. Lynch's personality....poor wife....
randy albin July 11, 2012 at 10:37 PM
residents of los altos hills must possess more presence of mind than this. does this security patrol include people from Foothill College?
L.A. Chung July 12, 2012 at 03:21 AM
@randy albin, I'm not sure if I understand your question. The Sheriff's Office deputies conducted the search, and the Foothill-DeAnza police were never involved.
Jane Sand July 12, 2012 at 07:38 PM
Great to know this 62 year old man was apparently just being childish for some reason, and decided to return home, as I had been concerned when I heard he was missing. But since it turns out "he was a voluntary missing", perhaps he could now reimburse the taxpayers for the helicopter, sheriff deputies time, canines, etc.? There is no mention that he had any sort of explanation for his behavior, only that he finally strolled in the door when he was good and ready. Disgraceful.


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