BELLA VISTA, Ark. (KNWA/FOX24) — The search continues in Bella Vista for a missing woman with dementia. 74-year-old Barbara Doyle walked out of the Brookfield Assisted Living Center on Thursday afternoon and hasn’t been seen or heard from since.
“As time goes on, it gets a little harder, a little heavier,” said an emotional Jack Doyle, Barbara’s husband.
The past few days have been very difficult for the Doyle family. August 16th is Jack and Barbara’s 52nd wedding anniversary.
Jack said his wife has battled dementia for about 12 years now, and the side effects have gotten worse recently. Police said Barbara has wandered off before, but they’ve been able to find her quickly each time.
“At first we weren’t too concerned because we thought someone would find her quickly and bring her home,” said Jack.
Jack said they admitted Barbara to the assisted living center on Thursday morning so she could spend a few days there resting.
Will Henderson is the Administrator for Brookfield Assisted Living in Bella Vista, where Barbara was last seen.
“Miss Barbara did not walk out the front door, she walked out of one of our doors in the back part of the house,” he clarified. “She was in the assisted living part of our facility which was not locked down.”
She was last seen on Thursday at 3 p.m. Brookfield provided surveillance video footage showing her walking in a hallway. She is 5 foot, 120 pounds and was last seen wearing black jeans and a grey T-shirt-like sweater with black glasses that can hang around her neck.
Henderson said staff started looking for her at 3:45 p.m and the police were on scene by 4:45. We asked if the facility can be held liable for her disappearance.
“Per regulation, we are well within our protocol in making sure that we are following up with Miss Barbara by checking on her every 45 minutes,” said Henderson.
Since Thursday, police have methodically searched a 400 acre span of land. People from 12 different agencies lent a hand to the cause.
“We had people out on quads, on bicycles, on horseback,” said Bella Vista Police Chief James Graves. “We used drones and canines, we had bloodhounds come in from the Benton County Sheriff’s Office.”
He added they are very certain she is not in that their initial land search area, and now they are expanding their search. Because of the terrain around Bella Vista and Barbara’s health, police are worried about the possibility of finding her alive at this point.
“We’re hoping that she’s still alive but if she’s out in the open at this point and out in the elements for over 72 hours, there’s a good chance it’s a body recovery at this point,” said Chief Graves. “Even a young and healthy person, we would be concerned given the time that’s passed.”
“Our thoughts are with Miss Barbara and Mr Jack and their family,” said Henderson. “I can’t imagine.”
Barbara’s family is asking for all they help they can get from the community.
“If you walk, walk and look. If you mountain bike, mountain bike and look,” said the Doyle’s son Kevin. “Just taking the time to put her missing person photo in your business window would mean so much.”
“I miss my mom,” added their son Chris. “I want to see my mom and I love her and I hope she’s found quickly.”
The family said Barbara likes quiet and calm places and doesn’t like loud noises or loud environments. Copies of her missing person flyer can be found at the Bella Vista Police Department.
Call BVPD at 479-855-3771 with any information on her whereabouts.