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Missing La Habra Man Is Found Unharmed in Mexicali

January 14, 2003|David Haldane | Times Staff Writer

An autistic La Habra man missing since early last week was found Monday wandering the streets of Mexicali, police said.

Diego Arechiga, 27, was found unharmed about 1 p.m. by police and members of his family, said Lt. Fred Wiste, a spokesman for the La Habra Police Department. "We have no idea" how he got there or what he was doing, Wiste said.

Arechiga, who has very limited communication skills, had last been seen about 10 a.m. Jan. 7 when he left the house he shares with his mother in the 200 block of East Rosecrest Avenue to go for a walk. Police bloodhounds tracked his scent to Fullerton, where it disappeared.

"We can only assume that he took a bus" to Mexico, Wiste said Monday.

The break in the case came Saturday, he said, when an unknown person alerted a family friend that Arechiga might be in the Calexico area just north of the U.S.-Mexican border in Imperial County. Local police were notified, and the missing man's mother and other family members went to search for him.

Police said that "little has been determined as to how he arrived" south of the border or "what transpired during his absence."

By Monday afternoon, Wiste said, Arechiga was on his way back to Orange County with his mother.

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