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July 3, 2011

Maine: Silver Alerts to aid searches for elderly

by silveralertbill

The Maine Silver Alert program recently celebrated it’s 1-year anniversary, and the Waterville Morning Sentinel did a story on the progress of the program.

The article recounted the origins of Maine’s Silver Alert law:

The new system was passed into law in 2010 after a man who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease left his residence in southern Maine to find a missing woman in northern Maine, according to Deborah Turcotte, spokeswoman for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. The missing woman had been found days before and the man died, Turcotte said.

Recent Silver Alert cases in Maine:

Modeled after the Amber Alert system for abducted children, it was used recently in two cases. One was the search in May for a missing 87-year-old Smithfield man, Philip Golding, whose body was found about 24 hours after he was last seen by his family. The other, earlier this week, was when a 83-year-old Starks man who had been missing for almost a day was found alive.

And the challenges of conducting Silver Alert searches in the Maine wilderness:

Two dependable resources when searching for missing people are aircraft and K-9 units, according to Adam. The Warden Service currently has two trained pilots who have found people from the air, providing GPS coordinates to wardens on the ground.

Chief Pilot Charlie Later recently found a Harmony woman suffering from Alzheimer’s disease after he was up in the air for about 10 minutes. The woman had been missing for at least a day in unfavorable weather conditions.

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