A daughter remembers her father, thanks volunteers

CREATED Dec. 28, 2013

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RACINE-- For more than five days, Reuben Santos' family frantically searched for him, contacting Racine police. His daughter says even strangers stepped forward to help. They finally found him, but it was too late.

"I received a call on Sunday at 3:00 in the morning," said Marta Santiago.

Marta Santiago lost her voice after yelling her father's name over and over in the cold.

"I was out there searching for him for hours, looking in the streets," said Santiago.

A brain injury 14 years ago changed Reuben Santos forever.

"I couldn't take care of him personally. He would wander off," said Santiago.

So the family signed him into True Life Homes where he'd have 24/7 care. But, last Sunday, police say Santos walked out with only a t-shirt, sweat pants and socks and no one stopped him.

"It was God's will, you know. It was, it was hard yesterday when I found him because it hit me," said Santiago.

The search ended behind an industrial park in the 5100 block of 21st Street. The footprints in the snow of everyone who'd gone out to find him, were still there. 

Santiago's finding comfort from family now, especially from one special guy, her two month old son. Marta named him Reuben after her father.

"You think grandpa's in heaven? (baby coo's)"

Another special guy, her father's twin brother, ironically passed away just six months ago.

"They were really close and you know, some people don't believe it but they feel each other's pain, because something was going on, the other would get an omen over there," said Santiago.

We went to the group home Saturday night. A woman answered the door, but didn't want to comment.

Marta wants to thank the many volunteers who spent this week searching for her dad, some of them strangers. Thanks to them, she has closure.