Alzheimer’s Woman and More Found in the Desert


Alzheimer's Woman and More Found in the Desert

Monday, December 12, 2011

In Arizona, a 75 year old woman suffering from dementia and amnesia was reported missing 12 hours after her family realized she was gone. The family searched and waited for her overnight and then filed a report in the morning when she did not return home. The state wide Endangered Persons alert was issued around 9:30 am and about an hour later, the woman’s car was located on the side of the road, but had been abandoned

There were footprints leading away from the car into the desert and as law enforcement searched the area, they found the missing elderly woman about 300 yards away, hiding behind some brush, disoriented and dehydrated, but alive.

When she was found in the desert, she had probably been out there for about five hours,” said Captain Eben Bratcher who was part of the search and rescue team.

But, they also made another discovery. In their search of the desert, they found 160 pounds of marijuana worth an estimated $82,800. The area was well known for smugglers to transport drugs and illegal aliens.

Lesson Learned:
Encourage immediate reports for missing elderly persons.

  • The first 6-12 hours are critical in the successful recovery of a person with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.
  • Caregivers believe that their loved one will return home safely as they have in the past.
  • Some caregivers do not want to burden the system with a missing person report if they feel they can do a preliminary search on their own.
  • Delays can be costly-work with caregivers to ensure they understand that you are their #1 resource when their loved one is missing.



Resources Used:

 Return to the Alzheimer’s Initiative main page.