Reverse 911 helps York police find senior with dementia; 3 seniors OK in SC, cops say

Police in York found two Florida senior citizens with dementia after the two, and a third person, had become lost, police said.

Police credited the success of a reverse 911 call system in finding one of the people.

All three people were in South Carolina late Sunday in good condition yet hospitalized as a precaution, said Andy Robinson, York Police Department chief.

“All three were thankfully found OK,” Robinson said. ‘The reverse 911 really showed its value this time.”

The three people, from St. Augustine, Fla., were believed to be driving to West Virginia, police said. They had not been reported missing, and had apparently left on their own, Robinson said.

York police became involved Sunday around 8:30 a.m. Officers first found one man, 79, outside York Intermediate School, Robinson said. A school alarm had gone off, then officers found the man on the campus, Robinson said.

The man was unhurt, Robinson said. The man was confused and believed he was still in Florida. He was looking for his sister, Robinson said.

Police contacted family and found that the man, his sister, and his brother-in-law all had left Florida Friday for West Virginia. York police then determined the brother-in-law had been found earlier Sunday morning by Richland County deputies near Columbia along the I-77 and I-26 interchange, Robinson said. The man found near Columbia also was unhurt, Robinson said.

York County Sheriff’s Office deputies and York police continued to search for the missing woman, Robinson said.

Police decided to use the reverse 911 to alert the public. That 911 call included a general description and age of the woman, Robinson said. Reverse 911 is a public alert system used by law enforcement to alert people in a specific area by sending a recorded voice message to landline telephones and registered cellphones.

An employee who was at Jefferson school, and her children, heard the reverse 911 call, Robinson said. The employee and her kids had seen the woman outside, Robinson said.

The employee and children searched for the woman and found her at the bottom of a ravine.

The woman was found around 1 p.m., Robinson said.

“The persistence of these good people was crucial in finding the woman as quickly as possible,” Robinson said Monday. “

It remains under investigation how the three became separated, and why two of the three came to York, Robinson said.