An 89-year-old Wyandot County woman is home safe today after she was reported missing from her rural Nevada home Monday morning.
The Wyandot County Sheriff’s Office assembled a 50-person search team after the woman’s grandson reported her missing at 8:42 a.m. The woman, who has Alzheimer’s disease, was located at 10:59 a.m. by a WCSO lieutenant. She was wearing pajamas and tennis shoes, but was safe.
“She’s a small frail woman and she just walked away from her home,” Wyandot County Sheriff Mike Hetzel said. “She lives in the southern part of Wyandot County in a farmhouse and for a minute there, it really didn’t look good. It was raining and her home is surrounded by cornfields and we just combed the area. We were going to bring helicopters in to search, but they were unable to fly because of the weather. The area where she was, they wouldn’t have been able to see her from the air anyway.”
The woman may have left the house as early at 1:30 a.m. Monday. According to the WCSO report, the woman’s home is equipped with an alarm system that alerts her caregivers if she leaves the house. The alarm sounded at 1:30 a.m., but the person responding to the alarm believed the woman was in bed. A daytime caregiver arrived at the woman’s home some time after 8 a.m. and discovered she was missing.
“(Rescuers) found a Kleenex in the frontyard (near a home where the woman was found) and it was out of place,” Hetzel said. “It was wet from the rain, but they could tell it hadn’t been there that long. They kept looking in the area and by the grace of God, they found her.”
A rescue team found the woman approximately a half mile from her home. She had crossed U.S. 23 and wandered down into a creek, but was unable to climb back up the steep embankment.
“She was across a four-lane highway, 400 yards from the closest paved road, had gone through chest-high brush and down a steep embankment,” the sheriff said. “One of our guys found her huddled up in the washed up area of a creek.”
The elderly woman was taken to Wyandot Memorial Hospital, but WCSO deputies reported she was in good spirits and appeared to be fine. However, she was wet from the rain.
“It turned out to be a great day compared to what we thought it was going to be,” Hetzel said.
Rescuers included men and women from the Wyandot and Crawford County Sheriff’s offices, Wyandot East Fire and Rescue and Emergency Medical Services, Pitt Township Fire, Marion County Sheriff’s Office K9 Unit, Wyandot County Garage, Ohio Department of Transportation, Upper Sandusky Police Department, Ohio State Highway Patrol and the missing woman’s family and neighbors.
“That’s what makes us always proud to be in Wyandot County,” Hetzel said. “A lot of emergency services staff from surrounding areas all came together and when we found her, we were all elated.”
By CHANDA NEELY