On January 1, 2013, California will become the 30th state to adopt Silver Alert. This new law will address the troubling issue of wandering and missing seniors. Even in a state as big as California, some seniors cross state lines, such as the case detailed below of an elderly California couple found 400 miles away in Oregon.
From the Editorial in the Redding Record-Searchlight:
Beginning Tuesday, California will join dozens of other states in authorizing “Silver Alerts” — broad public announcement to the media, law enforcement agencies and the general public when senior citizens suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia go missing.
The alerts for seniors in likely distress will piggyback on the existing “Amber Alerts,” which aim to spread the word about abducted children as quickly as possible and thus find them before a kidnapper can take them far. A senior might not be the victim of a crime, but if she is wandering, lost in a mental fog, the risk to her life is very real indeed.
The need is far from hypothetical. Just this week, a Redding couple — he 85 years old, she 83 — were taking what should have been a 10-minute drive across town to a Christmas Eve dinner, but disappeared and were found late the next night stranded and out of gas by the side of Interstate 5 in Woodburn, Ore. That is 400 miles north and most of the way to Portland, yet an Oregon State Police spokesman said the driver thought he was still in California.
From the Albuquerque Journal:
Gov. Susana Martinez is looking to apparent state Rep.-elect Paul Pacheco — who faces a required recount of his razor-thin lead over Democratic opponent Marci Blaze — to push legislation that would expand use of statewide missing person alerts for seniors with Alzheimer’s disease.
If approved by the state Legislature, the new alert system would mirror the city of Albuquerque’s “Silver Alert,” which widely distributes information about a missing senior with Alzheimer’s or dementia who wandered away from home and may not be able to find his or her way home.
On November 27, 2012 a Silver Alert was issued for 75-year-old Ronald Stevens. Stevens went missing in Terre Haute, Indiana and was found 300 miles away in Dewitt, Iowa. Charges on Stevens credit card indicate stops in Elkhart, Indiana and Cook County, Illinois — a total trip of more than 500 miles.
From Terre Haute Tribune Star:
A Silver Alert was issued today then was canceled after an elderly male reported missing from the Terre Haute area was found safe.
Ronald E. Stevens Sr., 75, has been located in Iowa, according to Vigo County Central Dispatch as of 3:45 p.m. today.
The family of Ronald E. Stevens Sr. reported him missing earlier today. Stevens was last seen Monday at about 2:30 p.m. at a fast-food restaurant on North Third Street in Terre Haute, according to a news release from the Vigo County Sheriff’s Department.
Stevens is a resident of rural West Terre Haute.
Detectives have determined that Stevens’ credit card was used in the last 24 hours in Elkhart in northern Indiana, and again in Cook County, Ill., around 5:30 a.m. today. He was not answering his cell phone.
Family members report that on a prior occasion, Stevens left home confused and was later found in Wisconsin.