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May 13, 2013

Daughter seeks public’s help in finding missing mom

By Jessica Strachan
C & G Staff Writer

Ella Andrews

Antoinette Simpson of Detroit, 32, was hoping for a Mother’s Day miracle this year — one that never came.

She was praying that her mother, 52-year-old Ella Andrews, who went missing from a Southfield group home two weeks ago, would be found.

Andrews, who is expected to have early stages of dementia, hasn’t been found yet. Mother’s Day this year marked day 11 that Simpson, an only child, was leading the search for her mom.

“I don’t have a feeling that she’s harmed, hurt or diseased,” Simpson said, noting that this was the third time her mother has wandered off — which was the reason for placing her in the group home where she stayed just over two weeks. “This is the first time that she’s been out of contact for this long, though. Fear is starting to set in. …. I don’t know how to put it into words, but I’m dreading Mother’s Day. It’s just not easy.”

The Southfield Police Department issued a release asking for the public’s assistance in locating a missing resident April 29. They said she wandered from her group home in the 27000 block of Pebblebrook Street, on foot and without any belongings.

“I feel that she’s unaware of the fact that we are looking for her. She hasn’t had her meds in so long. I’m not sure of her mindset,” Simpson said. “She doesn’t even know my number.”

Andrews was last seen wearing a tan coat that has a fur-lined hood, according to the report. She is a black woman with a medium complexion, approximately 5 feet 2 inches tall and 170 pounds. She has brown eyes and short, salt-and-pepper straight hair.

Witnesses have reported possibly seeing Andrews in the area of 11 Mile and Inkster roads in Southfield, and also in the area of 11 Mile and Middlebelt in Farmington Hills, according to Lt. Nick Loussia of the Southfield Police Department. He said they’ve received several calls, but no real leads in finding Andrews.

Loussia said she has been entered into the Law Enforcement Information Network as a Missing Person-Endangered and that an unsuccessful K-9 track was recently conducted.

Simpson said she’s checked every hospital in the area, passed out fliers and even used social media.

According to Simpson, Andrews suffers from depression and recently began showing signs of incoherence in conversation and during the incidents when she ran off — including once overnight when she reported sleeping inside an abandoned building.

“It was like she didn’t understand the impact that had on our family or how much it meant to us that she ran away,” Simpson said, adding that before the group home, Andrews lived with her for one year.

Working with case managers and social workers from the psychiatric unit at Sinai-Grace Hospital, Andrews was referred to a residential home and for a follow-up for dementia testing, Simpson explained.

According to the group home owner, Patricia Head, her home is not a registered adult foster care facility, rather a place where she rents out rooms for several years now as an additional income source.

Head said the there was no professional care at the home — there is a resident who has reduced rent for performing  services like cooking dinner and cleaning the house.

“I own this home to help people, to keep them off the street, and I’ve helped a lot of people,” Head said, adding that everyone lives independently in the home. “Miss Ella was the newest resident, and we all knew she risked running away; her daughter said she had run away the week before moving in.”

Head, who said she visits the house several times a day, reported that no one saw Andrews leaving that morning.

Loussia said that based on the investigation so far, it’s unclear why Andrews left the home.

“As far as it being from possible dementia, we just don’t know,” he said.

Head said that while Mother’s Day must have been hard for the family and that she’s concerned herself for Andrews, she wishes she had not allowed her to rent a room. According to Head, she did not accept rent money for the time she did live there.

“I feel so bad. This is not about blame, this is not about me or my home, this is about Miss Ella,” she said. “I look for her every day when I drive.”

And though the days of her mother missing are quickly adding up, Simpson remains optimistic that her mother will be found.

“I have faith that she’s OK and that this will be over soon,” she said.

Loussia suggests that if anyone spots Andrews they should keep an eye on her and call police immediately. Anyone with any information regarding this missing person is asked to contact the Southfield Police Department at (248) 796-5500.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Jessica Strachan at jstrachan@candgnews.com or at (586)279-1108.