Daughter of missing Winnipeg senior hopes critical incident review leads to change

The disappearance of a Winnipeg senior with dementia nearly six months ago has been deemed a critical incident by the city’s regional health authority, and his daughter hopes it could prevent future cases like her father’s.

Earl Moberg, 81, went missing on Dec. 12, 2023. Winnipeg police issued a silver alert for Moberg that night, and family asked the public in northeast Winnipeg to check their properties, sheds and cars in case he sought shelter.

A spokesperson for the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA) says an initial review of Moberg’s disappearance has been completed.

“We will review it as a critical incident to better understand if there is anything that the system could do differently and what, if any, improvements can be made to the way health-care providers work,” the spokesperson said in a Tuesday statement to CBC.

Moberg’s family will be invited to participate in the review process and, once completed, any recommendations made will be shared with them, the spokesperson said.

A critical incident is defined by the province as a case where a patient suffers “serious and unintended harm” while receiving health care.

However, Moberg lived at home and was not in a health-care facility at the time he went missing.

Britt Moberg, who called for the WRHA to review her father’s disappearance as a critical incident last month, says her father had advanced dementia and was known to wander.

She says he went missing on his first day of home care, about a month after his day programming was cancelled due to transportation challenges.

“He is presumed to be deceased at this point,” she told CBC on Tuesday.

A man stands in front of a pond.
Earl Moberg is seen in Winnipeg’s Kildonan Park. He has been missing since Dec. 12, 2023. (Submitted by Britt Moberg)

Her father was not wearing the tracking device that her mother regularly put on him at the time of his disappearance, Moberg said. She’s hoping the WRHA review will provide ways to prevent cases like her father’s.

“I’m hopeful that this could be life saving, and I’m hopeful that this shows the importance of services,” she said.

“It is important to be able to have … someone come to the home and actually be able to look for risks at home, and also to support the families with being able to create safety plans.”

Moberg says the last six months have been very difficult for her family.

“It’s just been overwhelming and there’s that sense that … his death could have been preventable if [he’d had] recommended supports and services in a timely way, that could have saved his life,” she said.

“We want to find my dad, and we all want to prevent something like this from happening [to] anybody else, because it has been incredibly painful and horrible. I mean, every day we’re still hoping to get a call.”