Forty days, four hours, 32 minutes ago. According to the website helpfindlinnea.org, this is the length of time since Linnea Lomax walked out of an outpatient clinic in Sacramento without her wallet, cellphone or medication.
Lomax, a UC Davis first-year from Placerville, has been missing since June 26. A human development major with a GPA exceeding 3.8, she is described as a cheerful, caring girl with “curly blond hair crown[ing] her slender 5’2” frame” and twinkling blue eyes.
Her disappearance follows in the wake of a series of episodes related to her mental state in dealing with the rigors that come with life after high school. This culminated with a nervous breakdown during Spring Quarter finals.
Subsequently, Lomax was encouraged to seek treatment for the illnesses that had begun to plague her. Between June 14 and 25, she was placed in inpatient psychiatric care.
On June 26, Lomax was scheduled to attend a full day of outpatient therapy. However, at around lunch time, she walked out of the clinic and has not been seen since. She was last seen wearing a black hooded sweatshirt with the word “Sweden” stenciled across in red, a pair of faded green skinny jeans and black flip flops.
An extensive search effort has since been conducted with support pouring in from all over the country. Nearly 6,000 users have shown their support via Facebook with hundreds volunteering their time or money. The effort continues with a benefit concert held on Aug. 5 at Cold Springs Community Church in Placerville. In addition, search parties are still combing the Sacramento area.
Linnea’s father, Craig Lomax, believes Linnea will be found, although he acknowledges that there will be a long road ahead for the family in nursing Linnea back to her prior state.
“All the possibilities seem to be increasingly unrealistic,” Lomax said.
He recounted that Linnea was never the type of student who was able to skip class and still get A’s.
“She had to work her butt off to excel,” he said. “[But] suddenly in a few weeks, all of that means nothing because she’s suppressed by her own mental faculties. The real Linnea is in there somewhere.”
Lomax wanted to emphasize the fact no one could have predicted this outcome for Linnea. Up until a few months ago, there hadn’t been the slightest hint of her deteriorating mental state. Lomax went on to theorize that many students are probably dealing with the same issues that Linnea did, but simply go home for the summer and choose to ignore or repress them.
He said mental illness isn’t something that happens in a day. You don’t wake up with a cough and suddenly realize you’re sick. It’s a slow process that could take months to fully reveal itself.
Lomax urges students to take a look at their lives realistically and to confide in their parents to be certain that history does not repeat itself.
El Dorado County Sheriff John D’Agostini made a statement one month into the search, stating that he believed Linnea was still alive.
“She was, and still is, considered at-risk and needs regular medication,” D’Agostini said.
All fronts are still holding out hope for the safe return of Linnea as the search efforts diligently forge onward. Linnea’s family recognizes that even if she is found, the healing process is going to be yet another arduous and taxing journey.
“If anyone can overcome it, it’s going to be Linnea. She’s just that kind of girl,” Lomax said.
ANDREW POH can be reached at email@example.com.