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Happy ending in Newport

by: Submitted, Jacqueline Goodwin Delfs

The case of a missing 74-year-old Lake Oswego woman ended happily last Thursday when Jacqueline Goodwin Delfs, reported missing late on Aug. 2, was found 'safe and sound' in Newport.

Delfs was last seen locally at 4 p.m. Aug. 2 in a hair salon in Lake Grove. She was reported missing shortly before 11 p.m. Wednesday after she failed to return to her Mountain Park home from Tangles Salon at 17777 Pilkington Road in Lake Oswego.

Don Forman, a captain with the Lake Oswego Police, said Delfs' husband reported she had been experiencing short-term memory loss and would be unlikely to seek help if lost.

Police tracked Delfs to Newport last Thursday through two purchases she made with credit cards. She reportedly bought gasoline at a Shell service station in Newport about 9:30 p.m. Aug. 2 and later spent the night at the Embarcadero hotel in Newport, checking out about 12:35 p.m. Thursday.

Lake Oswego Police were just four hours behind Delfs by mid-afternoon Thursday when she was spotted by employees working at the Embarcadero. Newport Police helped settle Delfs in a room while she waited for her husband before returning home.

Forman credited a rapid response from the media in part for helping locate Delfs.

'Part of it I know is because of the prior case that we had. They saw the Lake Oswego name attached to an elderly missing person (and responded),' he said.

In a prior case in January, Tazuye Higashi, a 79-year-old Lake Oswego woman, was reported missing after failing to return home from a day of errands. She was later discovered deceased in her van on the shores of the Willamette River near Canby, where she apparently died of drowning.

Delfs' disappearance, which ended on a happy note, was the second vanishing incident involving an elderly Lake Oswego resident this year.

Forman said police were 'ecstatic, very happy,' when Delfs was found safe on Thursday. He said as the aging population grows, keeping elderly residents safe is an increasing challenge.

'Some of our new technology offers us options we never had before,' said Forman, who recommended tracking bracelets for older adults who experience memory loss.

He also recommended people stop driving if they have memory problems and use credit cards instead of cash to help police locate them in an emergency.