Pamela Dart

Although the weeks-long search for her adult son with mental challenges came to a successful conclusion, Pamela Dart had some choice words for the police during the recent city council meeting.

Dart took issue with the characterization that Andrew “Andy” Dart was missing voluntarily, saying he went missing because of a fright and flight syndrome.

“Tonight, I would like to set the record straight,” Pamela Dart told the council. “The police stated that Andrew’s disappearance was voluntary, and he wanted to conceal his whereabouts. This was not the case. The illness that Andrew has dictates what his actions are, and it is a ‘fear or flight’ syndrome associated with his illness. It is definitely not voluntary with his illness. It is involuntary and very tragic when it happens. The person has no clear thought of what the dire consequences will be: Homelessness, danger to oneself or others.”

Pamela Dart then directed her criticism at the So Pas Police Department, saying she’s going to file a claim against the first detective that took the case. She declined to identify the man, but said his behavior was “very inappropriate.” By the way, these caustic remarks were not only being directed at the council but a full contingent of So Pas Police was on hand honoring Chief Miller, who was stepping down from his post Friday.

“In closing, I will comment that the detectives could have stepped up the search earlier. I did not hear from the first detective until almost 1 ½ weeks into Andy being missing. I will be filing a claim against one of the detectives for telling me that ‘I was not doing enough to find my son.’ Very inappropriate. I would like to encourage the South Pasadena Police Department to start or continue their training and education of mental illness and the challenges our communities and families face every day.”

Police officials had no comment regarding the criticism or the pending claim against the department. Police officials had commented earlier when the complaints were first brought to their attention, saying they understood the problem and they were going to do everything in their power to find Andrew and bring him home safe.

Pamela Dart did end her statement thanking the community at large.

“Again, thank you so much and especially to Steve Whitmore of the So Pasadena Review and Colleen Campbell of SPAS High School for the article.”

Although the specifics surrounding Andrew’s discovery are sketchy because of privacy issues, it appears that he walked into a mid-valley hospital on Sunday. It was immediately determined that he was in distress and was transported to another hospital closer to Pasadena more suitably equipped to deal with his mental challenges. 

“The important thing, the only thing that matters is that he’s physically OK,” Pamela Dart said. “He’s manic and disorientated but he’s physically OK.

“I want to thank everybody that helped in this search,” Dart said. “I want to especially want to thank the Review for keeping this story on the forefront of the paper. I can’t tell you how many people talked to me about the story and how they kept it close as they searched. This is a great community, so I thank you all.”

Andy Dart had been missing for more than three weeks without a trace and Pamela Dart had become more frantic as each day ticked away with no sighting. So much so, she began to fear for his life.

“This is extremely serious,” Pamela Dart, said during an exclusive interview in the Review’s office before he was found. “He could be hurt. He does not know what’s going on.”

Andrew “Andy” Dart, 45, went missing July 21. Pamela filed a missing person report the following day, July 22. She had been searching ever since. Andy suffers from bipolar disorder along with other mental challenges, she said. Pamela had conservatorship over Andrew up until about a year ago, when that ended. Pamela was unclear why the conservatorship ended, other than to say it created tension in their relationship.

Steve Whitmore
Author

Steve Whitmore is the editor for the South Pasadena Review. Steve has spent more than four decades as an award-winning print and broadcast journalist with a 16-year stint as the senior media advisor for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. Steve comes to us from the Keene Sentinel in Keene, New Hampshire, where he covered politics and was a columnist.

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