Trinity man found safe after leaving UAB hospital unsupervised

"I really feel like they thought he was just going to show up after a few hours somewhere in the hospital."
Published: Sep. 5, 2022 at 6:44 AM CDT
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TRINITY, Ala. (WAFF) - A Trinity man missing for nearly 15 hours was found safe in north Birmingham Sunday. Now, the man’s family is searching for answers as to why he was able to leave a Birmingham hospital by himself.

Ron Rikard had been receiving cancer treatment at UAB since Thursday, and his family said he was on medication that made him confused.

“I really feel like they thought he was just going to show up after a few hours somewhere in the hospital,” Ron Rikard, Jr. said.

Rikard, Jr. got a call at 1 a.m. on Sunday from the hospital saying his father had disappeared. He rushed to Birmingham with his brother in hopes to find his father, but the search was more difficult than they thought.

“This is like a needle in a haystack,” he said. “We’re not going to be able to do this on our own.”

The search started to weigh on the Rikard brothers.

“Walking all over Birmingham, driving all over Birmingham, it’s this mental and emotional exhaustion I’ve never experienced,” he said.

Rikard then reached out to his church community, and they showed up in a big way. He said close to 100 people made the drive from Morgan County to Birmingham to look for Rikard.

After hours of searching, Ron Sr. was found on the north side of Birmingham with cuts and bruises. Ron Jr. was emotional thinking about the support he received from his community.

“Tears just well up in your eyes just thinking,” he said. “Man how much these people love and care about you.”

Though he is relieved, Rikard is demanding answers. He wants to know how his father was able to walk out of the hospital without being stopped or questioned.

“I hope they look back and figuring out what they can do better so this doesn’t happen to anyone else. I don’t want another family to go through this,” he said.