Saron Teclu Belay: Family offers reward for mother missing more than two weeks

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Family, friends and neighbors of Saron Teclu Belay, a 37-year-old mother of two who is mentally-disabled, have issued a plea for help and offered a reward to help find the woman who has been missing for more than two weeks. Belay was last seen January 8 at 10:00 a.m. after being released from a Long Beach hospital and inadvertently dropped off by a taxi at the wrong location in Norwalk, CA.

Ms. Belay and her two children–Angela, 15, and Johanna, 11—live in Lawndale with her parents, Teclu Hailu, 81, and Nigisty Ghebre, 67. Earlier this month, family and friends held a press conference to detail the efforts being made to date to find her, and described her inability to care for herself. There is a $10,000 reward for information which leads to her discovery.

Ms. Ghebre reported that her daughter – who was born in Eritrea and immigrated to the United States in 1990 – has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and had just completed a two-week stay for psychiatric treatment at Pacific Hospital of Long Beach when she disappeared. She stressed that Ms. Belay does not know their address and telephone number, is unfamiliar with Norwalk, and is very shy and would not approach people for help.

According to Christopher P. Yuhl, an advisor to the family, when Ms. Belay’s stay at the hospital was completed, Pacific Hospital arranged for her transfer to a supervised care-and-board facility in Norwalk. It contacted Independent Taxi Company to transport her and paid the fare. The taxi driver took her to an address on 166th Street in Norwalk, a quarter mile from the supervised facility, and left her off in front of a house. Mr. Yuhl added that the only reported sighting of her was at a dairy market.

When notified she was missing, the family notified the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and produced fliers and distributed hundreds of them throughout the area.

Mr. Yuhl said anyone having information on Ms. Belay should report it to Detective Diane Harris of the Sheriff’s Department at 323-890-5510 or to him at 310-827-2800.

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