Larry Everett Starks is being sought in Downey.
By Tuesday afternoon, Kiersten Carlin had been driving around Downey for two days in search of her father, a retired San Diego County sheriff's deputy who hadn't been seen in four years — until last week.
Larry Everett Starks, 69, was living in Florida when he fell off his medication for schizophrenia and was evicted from his apartment. His sister filed a missing persons' report Dec. 15, 2007, with the San Diego County Sheriff's Department, said Lt. Kelly Stuart, a representative of the department.
Then on Thursday, Starks turned up in front of Frantone's Pizza and Spaghetti Villa near Telegraph Road and Serapis Avenue, according to a statement from the Downey Police Department.
Carlin said restaurant staff fed him before they called police.
"This is the first lead we have had on him," she said.
Officers called paramedics, who took him to Kaiser Permanente Downey Medical Center, police said.
Starks told nurses and police that he was a retired deputy looking for his daughter in the area but did not have contact information, said Carlin, who lives in Tustin, about 28 miles south, in Orange County.
The hospital staff confirmed with San Diego authorities that Starks was indeed a retired deputy, Carlin said.
Stuart said it was unclear why the department failed to tell the hospital staff that Starks had been reported missing.
"I don't know if he was removed from the system," Stuart said. "The case may be under investigation by homicide detectives."
Meanwhile, hospital staff released Starks on Friday because they could not legally detain him, according to police and Carlin.
Starks, who is 6-feet-2, was last seen wearing blue sweat pants and a dark windbreaker. He has short, salt and pepper hair, a beard and brown eyes, and he may still be in the area of Downey or neighboring Norwalk, authorities said.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Downey Police Department at (562) 904-2308 or Det. Paul Hernandez at (562) 904-2368.