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Missing Otay Mesa great-grandmother found 11 hours away in Mexico

Rita Catherine Clamser.jpg
Posted at 5:00 PM, Jul 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-02 20:37:29-04

OTAY MESA, Calif. (KGTV) - A missing Otay Mesa great-grandmother who disappeared under mysterious circumstances has been found in Mexico, more than 11 hours from her home.

Surrounded by family on Friday morning, an emotional Jeremy Tanaka talked about his missing grandmother, 79-year-old Rita Clamser.

On Wednesday morning, the great-grandmother of eight told her husband she was going to get her hair and nails done at a salon in Imperial Beach.

She drove off from her Otay Mesa home in her minivan, but when she didn't return home in the afternoon family grew worried. Salon employees told the family Clamser never made it there. Loved ones filed a missing person report and posted photos of her on social media.

“This is very unusual for her. Normally, they are homebodies,” said Tanaka.

Tanaka said his grandmother has shown some early signs of dementia, but Tanaka was fearful of foul play. He says on Thursday, there were three charges on her credit card totaling more than $500, charged to Mexico's version of Venmo, an app she isn't familiar with.

“It’s super concerning she may not have her wallet, and if there is foul play, she's not properly being taken care of,” said Tanaka.

The break in the case came on Friday afternoon.

Tanaka says a photo of his grandmother in a wheelchair was posted by an ambulance company in Guerrero Negro, Mexico, more than 11 hours by car from San Diego.

Citing an incident report, Tanaka says she was taken to a hospital after a car accident this morning and was complaining of hip pain. Family members are trying to arrange for her to be transported by ambulance to the border, where they will pick her up.

Tanaka says his grandmother had no reason to be in Mexico. Family members have not yet had a chance to talk to her.