On September 28, 2013, a Silver Alert was issued for 66-year-old Mattie Carson. Carson went missing in Columbus, Georgia and was later found safe 2100 miles away in San Bernadino, California. This is the longest distance Silver Alert we have ever documented. Since 2009, the American Silver Alert Coalition has documented 58 cases where seniors from 17 different states have been found across state lines.
From the news story on WTVM-9 in Columbus:
A Mattie’s Call has been canceled after Mattie Carson, 66, was been located in San Bernardino, Ca.
Columbus Police issued a missing person alert for Carson over the weekend.
Investigators believe she may have ended up in California by bus. She is being evaluated by the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Office and is in good health.
On June 10, 2012, a Mattie’s Call was issued for Virgil and Marie Haney. The Haneys went missing in Rome, Georgia and were found safe 115 miles away in Cullman, Alabama.
From the news story in the Rome News-Tribune:
Family members of Virgil and Marie Haney were overcome with relief after the elderly couple, who went missing Saturday, was found in Alabama early Monday morning.
Virgil Haney, 90, was pulled over by law enforcement officers in Jefferson County on Monday morning, and Marie Haney, 83, was found walking around in the rain near Cullman, said the couple’s grandson Daniel Morgan.
“She wasn’t with him, she got out of the vehicle somewhere near Cullman,” said Morgan. “Law enforcement there found her walking around in the rain Monday morning in distress. It wasn’t long after that they found my grandfather in Jefferson County.”
Georgia: Alzheimer’s Association Teaches Gwinnett County Police About Mattie’s Call and Missing Seniors
Kim Franklin of the Georgia Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association recently spoke to the Gwinnett County Police Department Citizen’s Police Academy Alumni Association about the law enforcement issues surrounding missing seniors.
From the article “Specialized training helps public safety deal with Alzheimer’s, dementia patients” Franklin talked about cases of seniors who travel great distances while missing, often crossing state lines.
Franklin cited several examples, including an elderly woman with Alzheimer’s who wandered out of her home where her husband was in the other room in April 2004. Her remains were found on Christmas Eve of that year, only 500 yards from her house. Likewise, a man with dementia left his home by car at 9 a.m. to go to the store in his neighborhood. Seven hours later, he ran over a curb in a yard four counties away. And, an elderly woman with Alzheimer’s got on a Greyhound bus in New York City to Atlanta with many stops in between. Seven days later, she was found by someone back in NYC.
Franklin discussed best practices for finding missing seniors, including Mattie’s Call in Georgia and Silver Alert programs in other states.
“We usually tell families to search the general area for the missing person for 15 minutes, and if you do not immediately find the person call police to report the person missing,” Franklin said. “In the state of Georgia, there is no wait period to report a person with Alzheimer’s, dementia or any other cognitive impairment missing.”
“We also encourage families to request that a Mattie’s Call be implemented ASAP, which is done through the police,” Franklin said. “We have more luck getting the person home quickly the sooner the Mattie’s Call is done.”
A Mattie’s Call is an urgent bulletin from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to the Georgia Association of Broadcasters. In addition, a Mattie’s Call utilizes the A Child Is Missing (ACIM) telephone response system and the Georgia Lottery System to spread the word.