Missing Palo Alto man last seen July 11 located safely

Andrew Pearl reunited with family Friday afternoon

A missing Palo Alto man with a severe psychiatric disability has been located and is safe, his family confirmed Friday, July 29.

Andrew Pearl, 30, had been missing for nearly three weeks. He was located by police at La Selva Group, a facility on Forest Avenue that is run by Momentum for Mental Health, according to Palo Alto police dispatches.

Andrew was reported at the back of the building after 1 p.m. on Friday. His mother, Leslie Pearl, arrived to the group home to be reunited with him, according to dispatchers.

"We are very happy and exhausted!" his father, Dr. Samuel Pearl, said in a text message on Sunday.

Andrew disappeared on July 11 after leaving Middlefield House, a group independent-living residence in Palo Alto, his father said.

The Pearl family blanketed Palo Alto with fliers in search for Andrew, who suffers from schizophrenia and had gone off of his anti-psychotic medication, his father said. Others helped to put up fliers as far away as San Francisco.

Pearl said that people his family did not know came forward to help, including individuals, members of the Downtown Streets Team and a number of agencies.

"We would like to formally thank the Palo Alto Police Department in their sincere efforts to find our son, Andrew Pearl. Special thanks goes to Officer Robert Parham, an experienced member of the department, who was our liaison with the entire police force.

"We also would like to give special thanks to Downtown Street Team for their support. Team manager, Kenneth Pierre was exceptionally helpful. The residents of Palo Alto including the homeless all gave us unwavering assistance in our effort to find our son. This was unbelievably gratifying to my wife and entire family. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts," Pearl said in a statement.

Mental illness "hits anybody," he said during a phone conversation this week.

Andrew was transferred to transitional housing at La Selva House, where he stayed for 10 days. But his father said that Andrew was released into independent living too soon. His insurance company refused to continue to pay for his supervised care at La Selva based on a formula rather than the symptoms he exhibited.

Andrew was sent to Middlefield House where no one monitors if patients take their medication, his father said, who had objected to the transfer. He did not feel that his son was ready for independent living, he said.


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58 people like this
Posted by Thanks goodness!
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 29, 2016 at 2:59 pm

So glad to hear this! Wishing Andrew and his family all the best.

31 people like this
Posted by Hooray!
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 29, 2016 at 5:47 pm

So relieved to read this good news. Thanks to Momentum for Mental Health for providing much-needed mental health services.

13 people like this
Posted by Why?
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 29, 2016 at 6:13 pm

Why? is a registered user.

I don't understand why Andrew would have been placed at La Selva, considering their past history.

However, it's good to know this has a happy ending. Have his whereabouts been established regarding where he was after leaving Middlefield House, before he was found at La Selva?

22 people like this
Posted by Happy
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 29, 2016 at 7:36 pm

So happy to learn that he is safe!
Hope the insurance company will pay more focus on cases like this immediately.

21 people like this
Posted by parent of anon.
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 30, 2016 at 10:14 am

Sadly, far too many mentally ill individuals end up in jail waiting for a hospital bed and getting sicker and sicker because jails can't medicate. This is a lose-lose situation for all. This is where my son is today because two psych hospitals refused to keep him for a full 72 hours to observe his mental state.

Thank goodness this young man was found safely. Good luck!

12 people like this
Posted by Thrilled
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 30, 2016 at 8:49 pm

So so happy for the parents and son. Thanks for informing

5 people like this
Posted by Sea Reddy
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 31, 2016 at 6:10 pm

Wonderful news

Like this comment
Posted by MadamPresident
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 1, 2016 at 12:08 pm

[Post removed.]

26 people like this
Posted by Stephanie, a physician and mom of special needs son
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 1, 2016 at 1:28 pm

As a mother of a 17 year old son who has severe autism as well as a primary care physician who has to deal with the complicated system of mental health care (or lack of it) in our country with 20+ patients with psychiatric conditions, on average, per week, I understand the situation is much more complicated than can be addressed by "just take him home. A family environment is much better."

He graduated from Gunn. He has paranoid schizophrenia which was diagnosed at 20 years old, 2 years after he was already an adult capable of self-determination in the eyes of the law. The last thing as a parent that you want to do is to enter into an oppositional relationship with your adult child over basic self-determination issues. So it is not as clear cut as just getting conservatorship for a severely developmentally disabled adult, the lines are far more blurred. So he likely has his own insurance through his permanent disability, and although the parents can petition for a hearing through the insurance company, the basic decision comes down to the person insured, who is the patient.

He has severe schizophrenia, and has paranoid delusions which occur on a daily basis. After he quit his medications because of the side effects (and these meds unfortunately have a LOT of side effects), his paranoia returns, making it very difficult for him to trust ANYONE.

Add to this the underlying belief by the patient that they are, in fact, "fine", and are fully able to care for themselves independently, and it places the parents and family members into an untenable position. They can fight their son in court to take away his independence and have him conserved, which will likely fail if the patient can speak for themselves well, which is usually the case in adult schizophrenic patients, and this places the parents in a direct battle scenario with their own child; or they can try to gently "guide" and influence his decisions, but the parents will still have to abide by often flawed logic in both the patient's decision making as well as the coverage deemed appropriate by the insurance company.

The insurance people who make the decisions don't see him as an INDIVIDUAL and will not do anything (usually) their own protocols of treatment allow. The fact that he will likely fall through the cracks will not be even taken into account by the insurer.

This is why the insurer needs to be sued. Sadly, the only thing which appears to change insurers' minds about giving better coverage is a hit to their bottom line, which occurs in the court system as well as the media.

This kind of thing will continue to happen to other patients, most of them with far less education and resources, and will not change without the insurer feeling their own financial "pain".

I am overwhelmingly relieved that Andrew was found safe.

4 people like this
Posted by Member
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 2, 2016 at 12:56 am

Glad he is home safe and proud that Downtown Streets Team was there to help.

3 people like this
Posted by Karen
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 2, 2016 at 1:06 am

I understand 'independent living' is exactly that. I know Momentum has several different programs, and if insurance doesn't cover the cost it
will be left to the family for private pay? I'm wondering what happened
here? If it wasn't for Momentum, this community would not have services
available to the degree they put forth with oversight and treatment.

Like this comment
Posted by Community Matters
a resident of Mountain View
on Aug 2, 2016 at 10:30 am

Fantastic news! I'm so happy to hear Andrew is back!

2 people like this
Posted by Theresa
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Aug 2, 2016 at 9:32 pm

Thank you Stephanie for your comments.

Very glad Andrew was found and is reunited with his parents. :-)

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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