A massive search for a missing Bell Gardens police officer ended Friday evening when he was found walking along a street in Victorville, the city where his abandoned police cruiser had been found earlier in the day, authorities said.
Officer David Larimore, 35, was spotted about 6 p.m.--about 12 hours after he disappeared with the patrol car--walking along a residential street in the southern section of the city, Sgt. Michael Lenihan of the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department said.
A citizen had heard his description on a newscast, remembered that he had seen the officer walking near 7th and Nisqually streets and called local police, Lenihan said. Larimore was found about four or five miles from where the abandoned squad car had been found.
"He was coherent. He was not hurt," said Lenihan. "He gave no problems to the officers. He was very cooperative."
Mounted police and other officers had searched most of the day Friday for the veteran officer who was seen early in the day walking toward the Mojave Desert.
After he was found, Larimore was taken to a sheriff's station and was being questioned by investigators about his disappearance, Lenihan said. Authorities did not release any information from that interview and it was unclear exactly how the officer spent his day.
Initial reports after Larimore was found indicated that he was disoriented. The reports, which quoted Bell Gardens police officials, said Larimore told authorities he did not remember driving to Victorville and said he thought he had called in sick.
Lenihan said "there's a lot of speculation" about what happened with Larimore.
And though Lenihan described Larimore as coherent when found, he said the officer "did not remember what occurred this morning."
Representatives of the Bell Gardens department picked Larimore up at about 9 p.m. to return him to Bell Gardens, Lenihan said.
Larimore, who lives in Long Beach, was expected to undergo psychiatric evaluation once he is returned home, Lenihan said.
Officials released no other details about the incident.
The search for Larimore began after he missed a 7 a.m. roll call, an action that surprised his colleagues. When they were unable to reach the 11-year veteran on his radio by 8 a.m., they reported him missing to other local law enforcement agencies. Long Beach police were asked to check his residence.
His white car, bearing a Bell Gardens police insignia, was found abandoned shortly before noon in a vacant lot in the desert town of Victorville, more than 100 miles away. The doors were locked. Inside were his keys, uniform shirt, police identification, driver's license and gun, Victorville police reported.
One caller, who had heard radio broadcasts about the missing officer, told Victorville police he had seen a man wearing uniform-style pants and a white T-shirt walking away from the car and toward the dry bed of the Mojave River.
Larimore's disappearance stunned his fellow officers and his wife, said Bell Gardens Police Chief William Donohoe.
"He didn't say anything to anybody when he came in this morning," Donohoe said.
Donohoe said none of his 50 colleagues or other friends who were interviewed Friday recalled any erratic behavior, problems or depression that might explain the disappearance.
"It's as much of a mystery to them as it is to us. . . . We are hopeful it is something that can be explained," Donohoe said.
In Victorville, local police officers went door to door Friday afternoon questioning business owners and residents, Community Service Officer Denise Garland said.
Times staff writers Andrea Ford and Nieson Himmel contributed to this story.