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Missing Person: James Alexander

In June 2006 James Alexander, a 73-year old Alzheimer's sufferer, went missing from his rest home residence in Palmerston North, New Zealand. The story was reported widely in New Zealand's national media.

James Alexander had been missing for more than a week when a woman claiming to be a psychic telephoned police and described a riverside location which she said was significant. Police searched the local Manawatu riverbank where they found personal items belonging to James Alexander, including a hat, a shoe, a watch, a lighter and a pair of glasses.

"The thing about it that really got me was that she had never been to this area but she was describing to me an area that was familiar to me because back in February we had a search for another Alzheimer's patient who had gone missing from a different rest home" - Palmerston North Police Sergeant Bill Nicholson

The woman chose to remain anonymous but did apparently have further contact with police when she helped in the search.

Unanswered Questions and Possible Explanations

This case includes the common "look near water" trick used by fake psychics. Statistically, locations near water have a relatively high chance of being correct.

In Palmerston North, the river is a fairly obvious place to look for a missing person. Sergeant Nicholson even commented that he had been involved in a similar search at the same location only a few months prior.

It is possible that the woman had simply taken a walk by the river and spotted the items, then claimed to have seen them in a vision. Alternatively, she could have known something about the case and wanted to tell police, but invented the psychic angle to avoid explaining her knowledge.

The woman's choice to remain anonymous makes it difficult to investigate further. At the time of writing the case remains unsolved.