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Daughter of missing man has questions about disappearance | News

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Daughter of missing man has questions about disappearance

UPPER MARLBORO, Md. (WUSA9) -- On September 18, an 80-year-old man went missing from a picnic in Upper Marlboro. His family hasn’t stopped looking for him, but as they continue to search they have more and more questions for the assisted living center that was supposed to be looking after him.

When drivers pass Watkins Park they see a flashing sign telling them Lubun Phipps is still missing. A white van has also become a fixture in the park, driving through with photos of Phipps on every side. 

Phipps has dementia and since he moved to America from the Virgin Islands he's been living at the Woodmore House Assisted Living. His family says that's who he was with when he disappeared.

"When I listened to the voice message, the message said, when you get a minute, give us a call," Phipps' daughter Michelle Phipps said.

Phipps soon learned that the assisted living center took her father and 20 others to a big senior picnic at the park.

"It was the first time I learned that he was attending this picnic. Um, they never called us prior to bringing him to this event," Phipps said.  

From what Phipps was told, her father asked to go to the bathroom and wasn't seen again.

"It sounds like the person sitting with him never even looked right or left to see what direction he was going," Phipps said.

At first, Phipps says the assisted living center was helpful and would call every evening to check in.

But then, she started to get questions.

"Did they have any type of identification on him. What was the ratio for staff to residents that were attending," Phipps said. 

Then they went silent. Phipps says she hasn't heard from Woodmore House since September 25.

WUSA9 tried to contact Woodmore House on the phone and in person, but we were told someone would contact us later.

Experts say, legally, this type of situation is complicated.

"The requirements of the facility in terms of care are complicated, but that's in the documents when you sign in to what the facility is going to offer," Robert Bullock, Principal Attorney, Elder & Disability Law Center said. 

Under Maryland law, Bullock said caretakers should expect that someone with dementia will wander. 

The fabric of their requirements are to provide care and safety," Bullock said. 

Phipps speaks with a Caribbean accent. His family says he used to be a chef at the Hilton, and may mention that or ask about cruise ships.

Park Police and the family believe it’s possible Phipps got on a bus and went outside of Maryland. They’re asking homeless shelters across the region to pay extra attention to his photo.

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