NEWARK, Calif. - A Palo Alto woman who had been missing for five weeks after she went out for cigarettes and never returned has been found dead in her car at the bottom of an embankment in Newark, police said Monday.
The California Highway Patrol said officers on Sunday were responding to a car that ran off eastbound Highway 84 in Newark when they found the body of 66-year-old Wamaitha Kaboga-Miller inside her silver Mercedes Benz partially buried under heavy brush and tree branches.
The CHP said it's unclear how long the missing woman's car had been in the embankment near the Dumbarton Bridge.
On the morning of Aug. 17, Kaboga-Miller left her multi-million dollar gated home in Palo Alto’s tony Crescent Park neighborhood and drove about a mile to a convenience store to buy cigarettes. By all accounts, it was meant to be a quick trip. She wore pajama bottoms, and left both her cell phone and her walker at home.
Surveillance video provided to her family from the market showed her shuffling to the entrance of the store and then spending about 15 minutes rifling through her purse and wallet, seemingly looking for something and seemingly confused.
The clerk finally helped her by pulling her debit card from her wallet and ringing up two packs of cigarettes for $19.
Outside the store, the surveillance camera picked her again, shuffling slowly toward her car. In an interview with KTVU about a week after her disappearance, her son said Kaboga-Miller was taking oxycontin and other medications following recent back surgery, and may have been confused.
The video shows Kaboga-Miller drive east onto University Avenue toward the Dumbarton Bridge. That was the last time she was seen by anyone. Family members were not immediately available for comment Monday.
The crash remains under investigation.