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Woman Comes to U.S. to Find Husband Has Vanished

November 09, 1989|JOCELYN Y. STEWART | TIMES STAFF WRITER

It was supposed to be a reunion. Lucy Udo, 69, had not seen her husband since December, 1988, when he left their home in eastern Nigeria headed for Los Angeles. He had come to receive treatment for Organic Brain Syndrome, which causes symptoms similar to Alzheimer's disease. Family members said he was much better.

His wife was anxious to see for herself.

But when she arrived in Los Angeles two weeks ago, she was told that her husband had disappeared.

"She was just in shock," said her daughter, Nkiru Ogamba.

Christopher Udo has been missing for nearly three weeks, and authorities have no clues to his whereabouts.

He was last seen Oct. 17 in the 5500 block of 64th Street in Ladera Heights at 3:30 p.m.

Ogamba said her father was not familiar with the area and had never left their Ladera Heights home alone. A worker in the nearby Ladera Heights Shopping Center said he believes he saw Udo walk by his store alone on the day he disappeared.

Before his disappearance, he had talked of going home back to Nkpologwu, the village of his birth. There life is slow, Ogamba said, and everyone knows everyone.

"He would say that he wanted to go back home. We had to explain to him and calm him down."

Udo missed walks around the countryside and his family members back home, Ogamba said. He was scheduled to return to Nigeria with his wife next month. His disappearance has left family members "sitting on pins and needles."

"Every day we are believing that today is the day that we will find him," Ogamba said.

During the day, family members and friends search the neighborhood, hospitals and clinics for some sign of hope.

In the evenings the Ogamba home is filled with prayer.

"I'm the oldest, and the biggest challenge is to be sure that the family is holding up. We pray together, and we talk about it. . . . That helps a lot," Ogamba said.

The family fears that Udo's illness has worsened and that his loss of memory, coupled with a heavy accent, will hinder his ability to communicate.

"We pray that he will be able to at least remember his name and any basic information," Ogamba said.

Udo weighs 130 pounds, and is 5 feet, 4 inches. When last seen, he was wearing blue pants and a black and white sweater. He is 66.

Authorities are asking for the community's help. Anyone with information about his whereabouts should contact the Sheriff's Department at 974-4346 or 974-4341.

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