Missing Internees

Disposition of Persons Under Custody of WRA

When the last WRA center closed on March 20, 1946, all 120,313 persons every under the custody of the WRA were accounted for and only four had left a WRA center without authorization. This is particularly significant considering the fact that the centers were in operation from three to four years, and that the residents were, for the most part, free to leave the centers on temporary leave.

The circumstances surrounding the four unauthorized departures are as follows:

1. A hospital rest home case, 80 years of age, no family members, disappeared from the Colorado River (Poston) Hospital on November 17, 1945 and is believed to have wandered into the desert. Because of his medical record of senility and generally feeble condition, medical authorities indicated he could not long survive. Body was not recovered.

2. A 35 year old man at Colorado River (Poston), no family members, was involved in a murder on September 30, 1944 and escaped into the desert. He was not apprehended.

3. A 56 year old man at Colorado River (Poston), no family members, disappeared from the center on July 11, 1944. Center authorities believe that he wandered into the desert in a fit of despondency. Body was not recovered.

4. A 22 years old girl, with a record of eccentric behavior and mental disorder, was reported missing from Gila River on June 18, 1944. From time to time she was reported to be hiding from her family in one of the barracks in the center, but actual date of departure is unknown

Source: "The Evacuated People A Quantitative Description"
United States Department of the Interior J.A. Krug, Secretary War Relocation Authority, D.S. Meyer, Director. 1946