Search for Captain Cook woman continues 1 month after her disappearance

  • Deborah Wiley

KAILUA-KONA — It’s been a month since Deborah “Debby” Wiley wandered away from her Captain Cook home and disappeared.

Since then, family and friends have searched in groups, with assistance from several agencies, to look for the 67-year-old woman who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease.


But to no avail.

“We feel she’s still alive,” said Jim Wiley, Debbie Wiley’s husband of 40 years, on Tuesday. “She may be out in the area hiding or she may have caught a ride to another part of the island, which may not be informed she’s missing.”

Debbie Wiley was last seen by her husband about 5 p.m. May 13 in the yard of their home near Hind Road in Captain Cook. While search efforts have scaled back, Jim Wiley said, there was a group of four that went out Tuesday in Captain Cook and Kainaliu to look for signs of his wife.

To cover their bases, Jim Wiley said his family put up “missing person” fliers in Hilo, Waimea and Ocean View.

For the past six months, Debbie Wiley would wander off within a half-mile from her home.

“In the past, people would bring her home,” Jim Wiley said. “She didn’t do it on a regular basis, but she had been doing it on a frequency of once or twice a month.”

Jim Wiley had his wife wear a tracker watch a month before she disappeared. However, he said she didn’t like it and she cut it off.

“Not knowing what’s happened is the difficult thing,” Jim Wiley said. “We haven’t gotten that feeling of it being suspicious. There has been no signs of foul play.”

As she is in need of taking daily medication, it is critical that Debby Wiley be found.

“Medications are to slow down the progress of Alzheimer’s,” Jim Wiley said. “She might have problems with greater confusion. She’s already dealing with that to some extent.”

Maj. Robert Wagner with the Hawaii Police Department said authorities spent more than a week trying to find the Captain Cook woman.

“We had the (Hawaii Fire Department) chopper fly the area,” Wagner said. “The Coast Guard chopper also flew the areas. We had the FBI fly the area as well.”

Jim Wiley said there haven’t been any new leads on his wife’s whereabouts for a while.

Debby Wiley is described as 5 feet 3 inches tall, 140 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing a dark blue long-sleeved shirt, blue jeans and grayish-white tennis shoes, according to police. She was last reportedly sighted May 16 in the area of Captain Cook Road A, wearing a camouflage-style hat.

As the search continues, Jim Wiley asks landowners to be observant for signs of someone on their property.

“If people were to see her, then call the police immediately and try to keep track of her,” he said.

Jim Wiley added that 100 or more people have given their time to search for his wife since the effort began.

“Our family is very appreciative of the support the community has given us so far,” he said. “It’s been overwhelming.”

Anyone with information about Debby Wiley’s whereabouts should call the police nonemergency line at 935-3311 or contact Detective David Matsushima at David.Matsushima@hawaiicounty.gov or 326-4646, ext. 224.

Those who receive reports about sightings or other information are asked to pass that on by calling search headquarters, Lanakila Church in Kainaliu, at 322-3346.


The family also is using #bringdebbyhome on Facebook and Instagram to provide updates and coordinate search efforts. There also is a Facebook page named “Deborah Debby Wiley” and email address, bringdebbyhome@gmail.com.

Email Tiffany DeMasters at tdemasters@westhawaiitoday.com.