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Deputies and Bloodhound locate missing Alzheimer's patient

It was the case of a man with Alzheimer's disease missing from his north Fayette County home early Friday morning. The man was located within minutes of the arrival of the sheriff’s K-9 unit and Bloodhound Sue.

Maj. Bryan Woodie said the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office received a call of a missing person at approximately 6:17 a.m. Friday. A 73 year-old man who resides in the Country Lake Subdivision, located off of Georgia Highway 279 in northern Fayette County, had apparently walked away from home. The man, who suffers with Alzheimer’s disease,was thought to have only been wearing light clothing consisting of a pair of shorts and a t-shirt, Woodie said.

Responding deputies searched the immediate area but were unable to locate the elderly Fayette County Resident. Concerned for his safety, they requested the assistance of both the Fayette County Sheriff's Office K-9 Unit Tracking Team and the Sheriff’s Office helicopter Hawk 1. Fayette County Sheriff’s Office Bloodhound Handler Sergeant Shane Head and Sue, a six year old Bloodhound, responded to his home, Woodie said.

Sergeant Head and Sue started a scent track in an effort to locate the missing Alzheimer’s patient. The tracking team successfully located him in only nine minutes after having started their search. He was located, entangled in a vine and briar covered wooded thicket, not far from his home, Woodie said.

Fayette County Fire Department emergency medical personnel were called to the scene; other than being very cold and disoriented due to his illness, he was found to be good condition, said Woodie. Due to his advanced age and medical condition, Fayette County Fire Department personnel transported him to Piedmont Fayette Hospital as a precaution, he added.

Woodie said the problem of missing individuals suffering with Alzheimer’s, dementia, epilepsy, autism, Downs syndrome and other related illnesses is a potentially life threatening issue. The Fayette County Sheriff’s Office has partnered with Project Lifesaver to help those in our community struggling and coping with the issues related these debilitating and heart breaking illnesses. Project Lifesaver is a program using electronics and specially trained search teams to locate missing person’s who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease and other similar illnesses.

The Fayette County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Unit was established in 1992 and began with three Bloodhounds. Sheriff Wayne Hannah expanded the original program; the K-9 Unit now includes three Bloodhounds, six Full Service Patrol Dogs, and one narcotics only detection dog. These animals are available for duty at anytime of the day or night. All of our canines, with the exception of the narcotics detection only dog, are trained to locate missing people among their other duties, Woodie said.

For More information of Project Lifesaver and the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Unit and their capabilities, please visit www.fayettesheriff.org

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