Family of missing woman to hold search party

'She just vanished,' says son of Wamaitha Kaboga-Miller

Njoroge Kaboga-Miller, left, and his brother Clovis Kaboga-Miller, sit in their parent's dining room after checking the details of a search event the family has planned for Saturday morning on Clovis' phone. Photo by Veronica Weber.

Family and friends will hold a search party on Saturday to try to locate 66-year-old Wamaitha Kaboga-Miller, a Palo Alto woman who disappeared on Friday, Aug. 17. They are asking for community volunteers to help find her.

Kaboga-Miller left her Crescent Park home in her silver 2002 Mercedes-Benz CLK at about 9:15 a.m. and drove to the Country Time Market at 2200 University Ave. in East Palo Alto, where she was seen purchasing cigarettes on surveillance video. Since that time, no one has seen her and she has not communicated with her family, her son Njoroge Kaboga-Miller said.

The search party will meet at 9 a.m. at the East Palo Alto Family YMCA, 550 Bell St. and will have a station set up in the parking lot facing University Avenue. The station will be open all day with maps and flyers for anyone who wants to join.

The Palo Alto Baylands will be a large focus of the search, organizers said.

Kaboga-Miller's disappearance has baffled her family, who have described her as a woman who didn't like to drive and was mostly comfortable hanging out with her sisters at home or visiting relatives.

Just about everything Kaboga-Miller did after leaving her Crescent Park home shortly after 9:15 a.m. that day seems out of character for the mother of two grown sons, Njoroge Kaboga-Miller said.

The home's alarm system, which records the opening and closing of the door, showed that on Friday morning her husband, Kemp Kaboga-Miller, had exited the home to go to work. Shortly thereafter, she exited the house. Surveillance video at the Country Time Market showed Kaboga-Miller, who is disabled, hobbling her way into the store. She purchased two packages of cigarettes for $19, her son said. It took about 15 minutes to complete the purchase and return to her car, he said.

The video shows Kaboga-Miller drive east onto University Avenue toward the Dumbarton Bridge. Her son said that alone was odd.

"She had a fear of the bridge. LPR (license plate readers) didn't ping (the car at the toll plaza). There's no video or footage. She just vanished," he said.

Kaboga-Miller did not take her cellphone, nor the walker she relies on to get around. She had a wallet, but she has not used her debit card. She doesn't drive after dark, and doesn't like to drive in general. For the most part, her husband drives her around or runs errands, her son said. When she did drive, it was close by to visit relatives in Menlo Park or East Palo Alto or to volunteer at the Palo Alto Food Closet located a few blocks away from her home.

"She would never go to Country Time Market. There are too many unsavory people around the area and it is deep into East Palo Alto. She would go to downtown Palo Alto or to the 7-Eleven" if she wanted cigarettes, Njoroge Kaboga-Miller said.

Kaboga-Miller was recovering from back surgery and she can't walk any distance without her walker. She was taking oxycodone for pain from the surgery, which could impair her judgment, but her family saw no signs of depression from using the medicine, he said.

"It was strange that she left so quickly. ... She was last seen in her pajamas and wearing a back brace. She couldn't go anywhere without it. We fear that she's dead or hurt or has possibly driven somewhere without knowing where she is and that she's hungry. She can't walk if her car became disabled or she ran out of gas," he said.

Kaboga-Miller doesn't go anywhere in the evenings, he added. "She likes sitting and talking to her sisters and helping people in need," he said.

Her commitment to homeless and hungry individuals goes back to her own experience growing up in extreme poverty, he said.

Growing up in a small Kenyan farming village, food was very scarce, he said. She grew up without any resources. They subsisted mainly on starches such as potatoes and corn, rarely had vegetables and ate meat only once a year, he said.

Meat was so precious that one time when they were dividing up the annual ration of goat, Kaboga-Miller wrapped her portion in a cloth and stored it in her pocket for later. As she worked around the farm, the meat fell out of the wrapping and into a pile of animal dung, her son said.

"She picked it up and washed it off and ate it," he recalled.

Kaboga-Miller's fortunes changed after she arrived in the Bay Area in the 1970s, living with uncles. She received a scholarship to attend San Jose State University, he said. Kaboga-Miller graduated with a major in communications and minor in business administration, according to her LinkedIn profile. She previously worked in purchasing at Broadcom in San Jose and other tech firms.

The family has searched every place they could think of, from Sunnyvale to San Carlos. They have looked in dikes, in the baylands and the Palo Alto duck pond.

"There are so many different angles. My father is a wreck," he said.

Palo Alto police have said they do not think Kaboga-Miller's disappearance is suspicious. She is described as a 5-foot, 1-inch tall black woman weighing about 120 pounds, according to a missing person flyer. She was last seen wearing a black puffy vest over white long-sleeved shirt and light-colored pajama pants.

Her silver 2002 Mercedes-Benz CLK has California license plate number DP241LU, police said. The vehicle has a handicap placard, according to the missing person flyer.

Search organizers are asking that people come appropriately dressed for searching the baylands and marshy areas. They are asking for adult male volunteers in particular. They will also assign people to hand out flyers. For more information regarding the search, people may contact Wariara at 650-575-9054 and Lilia at 510-393-7734.

Kaboga-Miller's family and friends have published a video seeking the public's assistance to find her.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Palo Alto police did not have any updates regarding her whereabouts. Anyone with information is asked to call the Palo Alto Police Department's 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.


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21 people like this
Posted by South Bay-er
a resident of Mountain View
on Aug 22, 2018 at 6:26 pm

I am looking out for Ms. Kaboga-Miller as I drive around EPA and PA daily. I will lookout for her car (“2002 Mercedes-Benz CLK has California license plate number DP241LU, police said. The vehicle has a handicap placard”). Prayers for her safe and speedy return.

6 people like this
Posted by Local
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 22, 2018 at 7:08 pm

Is it possible to enlist the help of drones? Why would she drive toward the brisge but not go there, what’s a likely destination between?

All the best that she is located soon.

10 people like this
Posted by Valerie Graves
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 22, 2018 at 10:38 pm

If anyone has a drone please come out Saturday.Or someone with a dirt bike maybe helpful also. Our family needs all the help we can possibly get.

13 people like this
Posted by So sad
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 22, 2018 at 10:55 pm

This is so heartbreaking. I can’t imagine what the family going through. I hope Ms. Kaboga-Miller is found safe and found very soon. My thoughts and prayers are with the family.

3 people like this
Posted by avigation
a resident of Community Center
on Aug 23, 2018 at 4:18 am

Drone operators must be fully aware that unauthorized flights in the Baylands are prohibited.

Like this comment
Posted by Illuminato
a resident of another community
on Aug 23, 2018 at 5:56 am

[Post removed.]

5 people like this
Posted by Local
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 23, 2018 at 10:30 am

Thanks for the heads up. How do we help the family get permission so that drone operators can help, too?

2 people like this
Posted by Illuminato
a resident of another community
on Aug 23, 2018 at 11:25 am

Really? THAT got censored? Bizarre.

5 people like this
Posted by Novelera
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 23, 2018 at 12:05 pm

Novelera is a registered user.

This is so very sad and mysterious. Interesting that the police think there's no foul play involved. From the description of Mrs. Kaboga-Miller, she doesn't seem the sort of person who would willingly disappear.

I fervently hope she is found alive and reasonably well, considering her post-surgery condition to begin with.

4 people like this
Posted by david
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 23, 2018 at 12:44 pm

Consider contacting pilots or the civil air patrol at PA Airport to see if they can look over the baylands marshes since drones are not allowed in the preserve.

Like this comment
Posted by Dog Breeder
a resident of Portola Valley
on Aug 23, 2018 at 1:57 pm

[Post removed.]

Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 23, 2018 at 2:14 pm

There are a ton of useful websites and articles if you Google "how to organize search party for missing person".

Not all are American or even California where laws and rules may be different, but similar strategies would apply. I am sure PAPD can give plenty of advice.

Here's some very practical advice, Australian I think. Web Link

Like this comment
Posted by NL
a resident of another community
on Aug 23, 2018 at 3:06 pm

Live in Alameda yesterday between. 3-30pm went to O'reillys Auto parts by Park St. Bridge on Blending. Park in front of to nice looking car
It was Silver Mercedes yr? Inside bumped into tell black man red Haiwaiin shirt hat greying sideburns didn't see a woman..thought maybe P.D.could check surveillance cameras. Perhaps license plate had been covered/replaced ?? Just a maybe.

11 people like this
Posted by Prayer Warrior
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 23, 2018 at 4:52 pm

Will everyone join me in prayer? I surely will be praying for God's intervention here. I'm so sadden to hear about Ms. Wamaitha disappearance.

Like this comment
Posted by NL
a resident of another community
on Aug 23, 2018 at 5:36 pm

How about trying. Three various psychics
unknown to each other= then compare their results.....nothing to lose.

4 people like this
Posted by Concerned citizen
a resident of another community
on Aug 25, 2018 at 7:48 am

Has anyone check the hospitals for "Jane Doe"? A couple of years ago I was unconscious and was brought in by ambulance into the hospital as a Jane Doe. I didn't have my I'D on me. My family kept asking for me by name, they searched all the hospitals and came up with nothing. I would urge to check the nearby hospitals to see if a Jane Doe is there, her wallet may have been misplaced somehow.

1 person likes this
Posted by Concerned
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Sep 23, 2018 at 7:59 pm

Just read this in the news and thought of Mrs. Kaboga-Miller. ‪The location of the car especially.

Web Link via @SFGate‬

Like this comment
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 24, 2018 at 11:06 am

"NEWARK — California Highway Patrol officers responding Sunday afternoon to a vehicle that went off Highway 84 near the Dumbarton Bridge made a startling discovery when they spotted a second vehicle with an older woman deceased in the driver’s seat.

"The vehicle was buried under heavy brush, CHP Officer Manuel Leal said. It is not known how long it had been there."

Web Link

Like this comment
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 24, 2018 at 1:55 pm

Suggestion: close these threads and point to the article announcing the resolution.

6 people like this
Posted by Some Lab Work Required
a resident of another community
on Sep 24, 2018 at 1:59 pm

> "The vehicle was buried under heavy brush, CHP Officer Manuel Leal said. It is not known how long it had been there."

Forensics can confirm that by establishing the extent of bodily decomposition.

1 person likes this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 24, 2018 at 2:06 pm

It is puzzling that no one searched that area, given that a number of such missing person incidents have been the result of something very similar.

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

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