LAKE ELSINORE (CBSLA) — Family members of an 81-year-old man with dementia are asking for the public’s help getting him home safely after he went missing in Lake Elsinore last week.

(credit: Riverside County Sheriff’s Dept. Lake Elsinore Station)

Manuel Soto wandered away from home early Thursday morning. His wife of 56 years, Maria, was the last person to see him and is worried sick, according to their niece, Gabriella Rosas.

“She feels guilty … We try to tell her, you know, it’s no one’s fault. Not even his,” Rosas said.

Lake Elsinore sheriff’s deputies searched the surrounding area last week but had no luck finding her uncle. Rosas says her family has been sharing missing flyers on local Facebook groups, checking hospitals, shelters, senior centers and the streets multiple times per day.

The last sighting was Saturday more than three miles from their home, at Holland and Haun, and along Newport Road.

“Some of the leads we’re getting are around one of the street names that I think he recalls from Tustin,” Rosas said.

Soto used to live near a Newport street in Tustin. His two daughters and seven grandchildren are concerned that he doesn’t know what city he’s in, or how long he’s been out there trying to make his way back home.

“He’s very quiet anyway. That’s his personality to keep to himself,” Rosas said. “So we’re worried that he’s not even asking for help.”

Anyone with information is urged to call the Lake Elsinore Sheriff’s station dispatch at (951) 776-1099 or 1 (800) 950-2444 or the family directly at (714) 561-6793.

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