LA PLATA, Md. (Jan. 23, 2008)—The Charles County Sheriffs Office activated a special alert that helped locate an endangered elderly woman who had wandered from her home on Monday while her husband was sleeping.
Sheriffs officers had responded to a residence in the 7300 block of Oliver Shop Road in Hughesville at 11:24 p.m. for the report of a missing woman. The woman, 71, has dementia and had been missing for about an hour. Officers searched the area and at 12:05 a.m., with 21-degree temperatures outside, the Sheriffs Office activated an A Child is Missing (ACIM) alert.
A Child is Missing is a nationwide non-profit organization that helps law enforcement agencies locate missing children, missing elderly who are often suffering from Alzheimers, college students on campus and missing persons who are mentally or physically challenged. ACIM, which is based in Florida, is a free service for law enforcement nationwide. ACIM has been credited by law enforcement for more than 325 safe assisted recoveries.
When a child or endangered adult in Charles County is missing, the Sheriffs Office calls ACIM and provides the information to a technician who records a message with the missing persons information. The message is sent to the telephones of homes and businesses in the area, alerting citizens of the situation and asking them to call the Sheriffs Office if they find the missing person. Using a sophisticated mapping system and trained technicians, ACIM can place 1,000 alert phone calls in 60 seconds to an area where a missing person was last seen or is believed to be.
Soon after the alert was made on Jan. 21, a woman at a residence about an eighth of a mile away who received one of the phone calls heard a knock at her door. She saw the missing woman, brought her inside. The Sheriffs Office was notified and the woman was returned home safe.
This is exactly how this program is supposed to work, said Sheriff Rex Coffey. Because of her health and the below-freezing temperatures, we needed to find her quickly and we did because of this system and a concerned neighbor. This program works because people in our community care.
Visit www.achildismissing.org for more information about the program.