On November 8, 2018, a Silver Alert was issued for 76-year-old Robert Weatherbee. Weatherbee went missing in Rangeley, Maine and was found safe 300 miles away in Norwich, Connecticut.
According to the news story in Lewiston Sun-Journal:
Connecticut police issued an alert Nov. 8 and asked for the public’s help to find Robert Wetherbee, 76, after he left Maine that day in his pickup truck to go to North Windham, Connecticut, but had not arrived.
According to a report by New England Cable News, Connecticut State Police told a media site representative that Wetherbee was found in Norwich, Conn., on Nov. 14.
It was the second year in a row that a silver alert — a public notification about a missing person, especially senior citizens with dementia or other mental disabilities — has been issued for Wetherbee. He went missing Nov. 9, 2017, when he left his summer home in Rangeley to drive to his home in North Windham, Connecticut. He was found about a week later sleeping in his truck in Foxboro, Massachusetts.
The latest example of a Silver Alert success story is the case of a 71-year-old man who went missing in North Bergen, New Jersey and was found four states away in Maine.
The man went missing in North Bergen, New Jersey on February 9, after picking up his car from the mechanic. Rather than drive back to his senior living residence, he got on the interstate and headed north.
According to Aimee Focaraccio, coordinator of local assistance program NB CARES, the North Bergen police contacted her because of her work reaching out to people in need. “What happened was, early Friday morning, one of the women from the senior building, she reported her husband and her car missing,” Focaraccio said. “They had been trying to reach him, calling him all day, and he wasn’t answering his phone.”
A Silver Alert for the man was also issued. That alert focuses mainly on seniors with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other mental disabilities. North Bergen police remained in contact with Maine law enforcement through the ordeal. “The state troopers found him, and he was extremely disoriented,” Focaraccio said. The troopers contacted NBPD, and brought the man to a hospital.
The full story is recounted in the Hudson Reporter.
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.