Man found safe after wandering from home

March 21, 2014

By Pat Maurer

After a more than two-hour search Tuesday morning a 70-year-old missing Greenwood Township man was found safe about a mile away from his home in thick woods west of Harrison.

The victim, who suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease, wandered away around 3:30 a.m. Tuesday, said Clare Police Chief and K-9 Handler Brian Gregory.

A news release from the Clare County Sheriff’s Department said they were notified that the man was missing around 6:30 a.m. March 18. Emergency personnel including Sheriff’s Deputies, the K-9 Unit, State Police Troopers from the Mt. Pleasant Post, the Michigan State Police Aviation Division and Mobile Medical Response Ambulance Service were on the scene of the search.

Gregory said he responded with K-9 Officer Swiper when he heard no other dogs were available to help in the search. “We responded and started searching sometime around 8 a.m., ” Gregory said. “It was very cold out, around ten degrees and the snow was so frozen there were no tracks to follow.”

“It was so deep in places I was in snow up to my waist,” Gregory said.

He said the man was wearing a jacket and tennis shoes. “Swiper found the man around 9:30 a.m. I could hear him barking, but the woods were so thick I couldn’t see anything,” Gregory said. “I followed Swiper’s barking and finally found the man.”

He said the victim was so cold he couldn’t move. “He had to be carried about 100 yards to reach a snowmobile to take him out another ¾ mile to the road,” Gregory added.

“I’ve been involved in search for lost people with dementia or Alzheimers about ten times over the course of more than 20 years,” Gregory said. “This is only the third time we have found the person alive. He is a very lucky man.”

The man was taken to McLaren Hospital in Mt. Pleasant for treatment and was reportedly still in the hospital Tuesday afternoon.

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