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Deputies searching for missing Carson man, 62

July 9, 2010 |  3:25 pm

Joseph Castillo Jr. is counting on the fact that his father is a fighter.

Joseph Castillo Sr., 62, has battled throat cancer for the last 4 1/2 and suffers from diabetes. But early in the early hours of July 4, he was released from the emergency room at Pacific Hospital in Long Beach and no one has seen him since.

"He was fighting for his kids," his son said. "He wanted to stay here with us as long as he could."

Joseph Castillo Sr. was last seen by friends and family on the evening of July 3 at the home he shared with his girlfriend in Carson.

"He told me he wanted to take a walk, but it was late, and I didn't want him going too far," said his girlfriend, Susan Quintana. "I told him 'OK, go to the corner and back.' "

He left about 6:45 p.m., but never returned.

After filing a missing persons report and calling local hospitals, the family discovered that Castillo had arrived at Pacific Hospital via ambulance at 10:43 p.m. July 3.

They learned that after a full examination, he was allowed to leave, according to a statement from Laura Salas, the hospital's patient relations director. The statement noted that he repeatedly told doctors that he wanted to go home.

"At the time he left our ER, he was noted to be alert, oriented, and ambulating with no difficulty," the statement said.

But Castillo's family said he should have never been released from the hospital on his own.

"I'm beside myself," his son said. "They put him out in the cold."

Detectives at the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department are searching for Castillo, who is 5 feet 8 and weighs 120 pounds. Anyone with information about him is asked to call the Sheriff's Department at (323) 890-5500.

-- Sam Allen