(Panola County, MS) The Bell family of Bell family of Trumann, Ark., will never forget Thanksgiving 2008 when searchers had found their lost, elderly family members in Panola County, Miss.
They had Alzheimer's and got disoriented following the rest of the family on Interstate 55.
Batesville Police Chief Tony Jones remembers his own case of a missing elderly woman with dementia whom his officers found deep in the woods.
"Drove down into a subdivision in to and old logging road. She was way down in the woods there by herself.”
Now, Panola County authorities can help locate missing people who register with the County for the Livesaver program.
"It’s a grant that’s designed to assist families with Alzheimer’s dementia, Down Syndrome, or even autism," said Panola Emergency Management Director Daniel Cole.
All those in the program have to do is sign up and wear a transmitter.
Rescue crews can then track them down with sophisticated antennas.
Authorities who have used project Lifesaver say it cuts the search time for a missing person from days to just minutes. In fact, they say the average is only about 30 minutes.
Right now, Panola County has three transmitters and one person signed up.
Authorities hope to add more, with a little help from outside groups.
"We have had a couple show an interest in purchasing more for us. We’d love to get as many people who want ‘em, and provide ‘em at no charge,” explained Cole.
It could mean an end to massive searches that go on for days.
"I think it would be very helpful, save lives, very possibly,” said Chief Jones.
And those involved say that’s their main goal.