Robert Grappi was the subject of the state's first Silver Alert, issued on Tuesday.

Missing Elk Grove man found in Grass Valley after a vehicle stop

Published: Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 3B

The subject of California's first Silver Alert, an 82-year-old Elk Grove man who went missing, was found early Wednesday in Grass Valley.

Robert Grappi relies on regular medication and has shown signs of dementia, according to Officer Christopher Trim, Elk Grove Police Department spokesman.

Grappi left his Elk Grove home about 3:30 p.m. Monday after arguing with his wife. He was believed to be driving his 1998 Toyota RAV4 to his son's house in Nevada County, but he never arrived.

Police knew Grappi's credit card was used twice at Grass Valley gas stations early Tuesday.

Grappi was found about 3 a.m. Wednesday by Grass Valley police after they conducted a vehicle stop. He was checked by ambulance workers and given a clean bill of health before being returned to his family, police said.

Grass Valley police first suspected Grappi was driving under the influence when they spotted his vehicle. Once an officer had a chance to speak with Grappi, it was discovered that he was reported missing from Elk Grove.

"He was very cooperative," and was picked up by a relative at the Police Department, said Capt. Rex Marks with the Grass Valley Police Department.

Starting Tuesday, the California Highway Patrol began issuing bulletins called Silver Alerts in cases when at-risk people 65 and older are missing. The Grappi notification was distributed to authorities and media outlets in Sacramento, Placer and Nevada counties about 9:30 a.m. Tuesday.

However, Grappi was not located because of the new Silver Alert, police said. Finding him had more to do with an observant officer in a small town seeing someone driving in a manner that suggested he was under the influence.

"We are a small community and at 3 a.m. pretty much anything that is moving is suspect," Marks said. "Fortunately, he was found safe and sound."

Marks said Grappi indicated that he was "visiting the high country" and that he was lucid at the time.

"Obviously he was very fatigued, quite tired," Marks said. "He was quite happy to see our officers."

Unlike Amber Alerts, the decade-old system used to locate missing children, Silver Alerts do not appear on electronic highway signs.

The CHP issues alerts based on several criteria, including health risks, inclement weather, suspicious circumstances or other perilous conditions.

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Bill Lindelof



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