Family members are speaking out about the loss of Victoria Kong. The 83-year-old Gaithersburg woman wandered out of Reagan National Airport on Friday.
Her remains were discovered Monday afternoon in a wooded area just off a bike trail along the George Washington Parkway, south of Gravelly Point.
"For it to end this way is too much ... it's just too much," said granddaughter Kalisse Anderson.
Kong's image was captured by an airport security camera after she stepped off a flight from Miami on Friday. She had just completed the final leg of a trip home from visiting family in Barbados for the winter.
Kong failed to meet her daughter at baggage claim, apparently wandering out of the airport instead.
Her disappearance led to a search, and a specially trained dog picked up her scent along Mount Vernon Trail. Search teams combed Teddy Roosevelt Island and her granddaughters handed out fliers at Gravelly Point, not far from where Kong's remains would eventually be found by volunteers. Her purse was discovered alongside her, and U.S. Park Police say it does not appear Kong was the victim of a crime.
Kong had an escort help her through customs in Miami and family members say she should have had "arm-to-arm" assistance deplaning at Reagan National.
American Airlines tells FOX 5 that service was not requested. However, the carrier agrees that the family had scheduled a wheelchair to pick Kong up at the gate.
American Airlines Spokesperson Matt Miller released a statement reading in part, "We have been working with our vendor that provides wheelchair assistance and have learned that the wheelchair waiting for Ms. Kong was not claimed after deplaning."
Kong's granddaughters said she may have been suffering from early onset dementia or a similar condition, but nothing had been officially diagnosed as of yet.
According to Anderson, "She was getting a little bit slower, a little more forgetful, but we never anticipated anything like this. She just got confused you know, she just got confused."
The family expressed gratitude to the police, and all of the people who volunteered to search for their grandmother, saying at least now they have some closure.
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