Bobby O’Leary, a 21-year-old Santa Clara man, was found safe. He went missing on April 11 and prompted mass searches by local law enforcement, family and community members.
According to Santa Clara Police Department (SCPD) Lt. Dan Moreno, O’Leary was located at an Oakland hospital in Alameda County on Monday April 24. He was at the hospital for about a week before a therapist recognized him from media coverage. He was physically uninjured with just minor scratches.
He was admitted into the hospital on April 14 after a ferry spotted him drifting in a boat near Alameda Island. The Oakland Fire Department rescued him and transported him to the hospital. O’Leary gave a fake name to the hospital so he wasn’t recognized as a missing person, said Moreno.
When O’Leary was recognized, they contacted the SCPD. “We went over there to verify his identity and called his parents,” said Moreno.
O’Leary was reunited with his family on Monday. Moreno said he was still at the hospital as of Monday.
News of O’Leary’s disappearance spread widely on social media and by community members who handed out flyers and combed through Santa Clara and the surrounding areas for him. Over a thousand people joined a Facebook Group called Bring Bobby Home to connect on efforts to find O’Leary and now to celebrate that O’Leary is safe.
The community also came together to crowd fund $25,000–above and beyond their $20,000 goal. With the money, the family was able to hire a private investigator and also raise reward money for information about O’Leary’s whereabouts.
“[The SCPD] put at lot of effort into finding him and the community was helpful,” said Moreno. “It was a good effort.”
According to the SCPD, at 11:55 p.m. on April 11 O’Leary was seen at 5453 Great America Parkway, Santa Clara where he ran away from a security guard. He was also spotted near the marshes at Alviso Marina County Park. According to a flyer on the Facebook Group, on April 19 he was also seen in Fremont near Auto Mall Parkway–however, since he was in the hospital as of April 14, this sighting was probably a mistake.
Katie O’Leary, Bobby’s sister, posted a brief but grateful update on the Facebook page around 1:30 p.m. on Monday: “BOBBY IS ALIVE! Currently in a hospital in Oakland. Thank you for the wonderful love and support through this difficult time.”
Jean O’Leary, Bobby’s mother, also reached out to those on the page, “…This episode has been traumatic for all of us. We thank everyone for the love and care that they have shown us…”