Search for missing man with dementia reunites friends
A former U.S. Forest Serviceman was rescued Tuesday night after he got lost in the woods in Polk County.
SAR Coordinator, Richard Taylor, said the man was his friend.
It was about four in the afternoon when Taylor got a phone call asking for his help in a search off Fairview Mountain. When he found out it involved a friend, he got scared.
“It was supposed to be in the 20's last night, and I knew that Bob, the way he was dressed would probably not survive so it became a very important emergency to me,” Taylor said.
He said his friend, Bob, who retired from the U.S Forest Service 10 years ago, has dementia. He had been missing for an hour.
“He was taking a daily walk that he usually takes. It was a pretty day and he just took a wrong turn and went off by an oak cabin and then out in the woods,” Taylor explained.
Four agencies help in the search, including Taylor who had his search dogs, Jake and Sun, by his side. The two were able to get a whiff of a jacket Bob left behind and began tracking him.
“Bob had wandered around some in the area,” Taylor said. “We were calling out for him the whole time that we were working, and he never responded back to us, so we were beginning to wonder if we were on the right track.”
About 30 minutes later, Jake and Sun found a shoe.
It was Bob's.
“We just turned to our left, and he was about 20 yards to our left standing on top of the ridge. He was happy to see us; happy to get his shoe back and he remembered me. He said well you are bald-headed now, so we had a good time with him and we walked him out. He was not hurt or injured at all,” Taylor said. “It was kind of like a miracle you know.”
Taylor said Bob is doing fine.
Taylor is encouraging anyone with family members who have dementia or Alzheimer’s to watch them carefully and consider finding ways to track them.