Nathan Bishop, 58, was found alive late Monday morning in the attic of the Riverview Senior Living complex where he was a resident, about 40 hours after being reported missing early Saturday evening, according to officials.
More than 100 people participated in a widespread search for Bishop, who officials said suffered from Parkinson’s and dementia, making him likely unable to move or communicate without his required medication. He was also last seen wearing a brown t-shirt and grey joggers — with no coat or phone — during a search period that was frequently rainy with temperatures in the 40s.
But Bishop was found in the attic of the assisted living complex at about 11:50 a.m. Monday, said Luke Lemieux of Alaska State Troopers. He was brought down by stretcher about two hours later and taken to Bartlett Regional Hospital, with officials and family members at the assisted living center describing him in stable condition.
“He’s off his meds, he’s dehydrated and weak, but his vitals are strong,” said his sister, Brita Bishop, as Capital City/Fire Rescue and other workers were getting ready to bring her brother down from the attic.
While a search of the facility was conducted after Nathan Bishop was reported missing, it did not include the attic, Lemieux said.
“What I’ve heard was that they had checked his room, they checked the other residents’ rooms and the common areas, but it was never thought to check the attic,” he said.
However, on Monday morning “it was just by chance that something electronic had gone wrong,” Lemieux said. “So they had to go up and take a look to see how they could fix it, and they ended up finding him alive in the attic.”
Local staff at the Riverview complex referred questions to its California-based parent company Northstar Senior Living. Steve Kregel, Northstar’s chief operating officer, stated in a text message “we are extremely grateful that Nathan was found and will be OK.”
“Now that our focus on the search is over we are actively reviewing the chain of events in how Nathan reached the top part of the community in which he was found,” Kregel wrote.
Brita Bishop said she is still supportive of the Riverview facility and the lifestyle it allowed her brother to live despite his medical condition, instead of another alternative such as an out-of-state facility.
“My brother is somebody who lived his life, taking risks and doing things,” she said. “He’s very adventurous. He was always somebody who was out doing hard things, and taking care of people and doing stuff. And we could put him in some place where he would never have been at any risk. And he would have absolutely hated it.”
“It’s easy to point fingers and everybody can always do things better,” she added. “But that’s our bottom line.”
Nathan Bishop is a retired self-employed contractor, city planner and former member of the Juneau Planning Commission. He lived with his wife, Amanda Arra, in one of the houses along the Mendenhall River that was damaged and condemned due to record flooding in August, according to a GoFundMe set up for the couple after the flood. He moved to Riverview in May because his medical condition.
A ground search throughout the Mendenhall Valley and surrounding areas involving nearly 80 volunteers took place Sunday until darkness set in. That effort did not resume Monday morning because the entire area had been searched, Lemieux said. Search efforts were ongoing Monday using drones with infrared cameras, Juneau Mountain Rescue members and Juneau SEADOGS until Nathan Bishop was located.