Found Navy Sailor Was "Disoriented and Confused"

By Artie Ojeda
|  Sunday, May 8, 2011  |  Updated 9:56 AM PDT
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Missing Sailor Found "Confused"

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A Navy sailor missing since last Tuesday had been living underneath a bridge for the past four days before he was found Saturday afternoon "disoriented and confused" at a friend's house in La Mesa.

Petty Officer Second Class Nicholas Hamilton, 31, had been missing since he failed to check in at Naval Base San Diego. His wife said he suffered from depression and PTSD and had tried to kill himself while aboard USS Ronald Reagan.

His wife organized a volunteer search party on Saturday morning. The team fanned out across the county, including areas visited earlier in the week. That included an apartment complex on the 9100 block of Campina Drive. Hamilton was known to have a friend at the complex.

"I walked up to the apartment and the front door was open and there he was," said Casey Withers, who is a family neighbor and took part in the search. "There was no resistance. He just looked really remorseful and disoriented and confused. He looked pretty much as surprised to see me as I did him."

Withers said Hamilton told him he had been sleeping underneath a bridge south of the Navy base. He had taken a trolley to La Mesa early Saturday. The sailor said he had no idea anyone was looking for him.

Withers called La Mesa Police and Hamilton was eventually reunited with his wife.

"She just ran over and started crying and gave him a hug. It was pretty emotional. It was what you'd expect from a wife who hadn't seen her husband in four days and had no idea where he was," said Withers.

Hamilton was taken to Naval Medical Center for observation.
 

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