Police are hoping a new wave of community outreach will help find a missing woman with Down syndrome who was last seen in 2005 in her sister’s South Berkeley apartment. The sister, who was the woman’s caregiver when they lived together at 1612 Parker St., is not cooperating with the investigation, police said Friday.
The Berkeley Police Department sent out a public alert this week asking for help to find Heather Bloom. Bloom cannot speak, though she knows some sign language, and “requires daily medication and constant care,” police said. She has not been seen since 2005, when she was 29. She would now be 40 years old, police said.
Authorities said Bloom’s mother brought her to Berkeley from Brooklyn, New York, to visit Bloom’s sister in June 2005. In September, Bloom’s mother returned to New York. Police say Heather Bloom has not been seen since Sept. 11, 2005.
BPD Sgt. Andrew Frankel, department spokesman, said Thursday’s announcement is the first time the department has used paid promotion on social media to try to spread the word about a case. He said the department thought it was worth trying as one way to reach beyond BPD’s normal online following.
Police said Bloom’s sister moved out of her Parker Street apartment, near California Street, in 2007. Frankel said it’s possible Bloom is still living with her sister in a new location, or could be in some kind of board and care facility.
“Our hope is that someone in a facility could see the news coverage and come forward,” Frankel said.
Police are still “in regular contact” with Bloom’s mother, he said.
Bloom was born without a thyroid gland, and may need a wheelchair and eyeglasses. She has heart issues, as well as a vertical scar on her chest, and a lump on the back of her neck near the hairline.
When Bloom disappeared, she was 5 foot 1 and 160 pounds. She has brown hair and blue eyes.
Police said previously that they became aware of the case when Bloom’s mother called BPD in June 2009. She said she had not been able to reach either daughter since 2005.
“BPD’s primary focus is to locate Heather Bloom and obtain any details regarding her welfare,” police said at that time.
According to prior media reports, police were called to the Parker Street apartment in 2005 to handle a dispute between Bloom’s mother, Phyllis, and her other daughter, identified elsewhere online as Shari Bloom: “Heather Bloom was present at the time and the argument was more or less resolved,” the Bay Area News Group reported in 2010.
Neither police nor Heather Bloom’s mother have seen her since.
According to cold case missing person tracking website The Charley Project, in March 2010, police went to another apartment, where the sister had moved, but “she wouldn’t open the door for them. She answered questions through the window and said Heather was fine, but she refused to let anyone see Heather or come inside the home. Within a month, she had moved.”
The homicide detail is investigating the case because it is responsible for finding adults who are missing.
Police ask anyone with information about Bloom to call BPD Homicide Sgt. Peter Hong at 510-981-4723.