The family of David Boutelle — a 66-year-old man who walked out of his Durant Avenue apartment 16 days ago and has not been seen since — is asking for community help to locate him.

Boutelle and his brother Jimmy were preparing to leave their apartment at 2226-2230 Durant Ave. (near Ellsworth Street) on Jan. 4 when Jimmy ran back upstairs to fetch something, according to Joseph Minot, the men’s nephew. Boutelle was sitting on a bench in the complex’s courtyard. When Jimmy returned, Boutelle had disappeared.

Boutelle left behind his wallet, phone and car, and was wearing house slippers at the time of his disappearance, according to Lynette Boutelle, the former daughter-in-law of one of Boutelle’s brothers.

In recent months, Boutelle, who is an apartment manager, had been experiencing signs of forgetfulness and dementia, said Minot. He had stopped driving because he sometimes couldn’t remember where he was, said Minot. Jimmy has some disabilities and did not tell his family about Boutelle’s disappearance for a week, he said.

“We don’t feel he harmed himself,” said Lynette Boutelle.



The family contacted the Berkeley Police Department and officers examined video coverage of the area around the Durant Avenue apartment complex. One shot from a video shows Boutelle exiting the front gate but there was no sign of him after that. Since then, Minot has been plastering flyers about his uncle around Berkeley, at BART stations, on telephone poles and at Highland Hospital. He also has been visiting homeless encampments to see if Boutelle is there. Lynette Boutelle has been posting on social media asking for help.

A video still of Boutelle leaving his home Jan 4. Photo: Berkeley Police Department

“It’s been two weeks,” said Minot. “I don’t know how far he could have gone. It’s stressful. I don’t know where to go next.”

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Frances Dinkelspiel, Berkeleyside and CItyside co-founder, is a journalist and author. Her first book, Towers of Gold: How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman Created California, published in November...