The wandering Bell Gardens police officer who told authorities he blacked out last week and regained consciousness 12 hours, and two counties, later has been undergoing psychological tests to determine what caused his curious desert pilgrimage, authorities said Tuesday.
Officer David Larimore, 35, who disappeared in a patrol car early Friday, was picked up unharmed later that day in Victorville--a Mojave Desert city 28 miles north of San Bernardino--after a massive search by authorities.
Although Bell Gardens police have refused to comment on details of the case, saying that Larimore's mental condition is a private matter, San Bernardino County sheriff's detectives said the officer was being interviewed by doctors and counselors.
Sheriff's Sgt. Warren Nobles said that he had been briefed by Larimore's commander about the missing officer's despondency over a marital rift and his failure to be promoted within the department.
"In Bell Gardens, (Police Chief William Donohoe) said they were looking at all possible explanations about what happened," Nobles said. "There were some marital, financial and job problems that came up in the discussion. . . . Those may have been issues."
Larimore, an 11-year veteran who lives in Long Beach, had arrived early for work on Friday, changed into his uniform, and left the station before morning roll call, sheriff's spokeswoman Denise Garland said. After repeated attempts to reach Larimore by radio, Bell Gardens police began searching for him. Sheriff's deputies joined the effort after Larimore's car was found.
The officer was found walking in the neighborhood of a friend who was a Bell Gardens officer for eight years and is now a sheriff's deputy stationed in Victorville.
Deputy Michael Stout said Larimore's desert visit was curious as well as unannounced. Larimore, who has visited Victorville in the past, said he had been wandering on foot for about five hours and wasn't certain where he was, Stout told authorities.
Garland said of Larimore: "Not knowing where he was or how he got there was very disturbing to him."
Authorities said Larimore did not remember going to work or driving in the squad car earlier that day. The abandoned car had been found earlier, parked in the middle of a construction site in downtown Victorville. Larimore's uniform shirt, police identification and service revolver were on the front seat. The keys were in the ignition.
Garland said Larimore recently had been treated for "severe headaches," but at the time he was found, he "did not appear to be under the influence of any drug."
"He simply seemed apprehensive, almost frightened, about where he had been," she said.