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Newman woman reunited with family

POSTED September 24, 2010 9:10 p.m.
A search by law enforcement for a Newman woman with dementia ended happily Wednesday morning when she was reunited with her family, the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department reported.

The 83-year-old woman was reported missing by family members shortly after midnight Wednesday. She was last seen on the property in the 2500 block of Jorgensen Road, which is a 30-acre ranch with three houses.

Given the facts that the woman had no prior instances of ever being reported missing, her dementia diagnosis, and that she was not properly dressed for the cool overnight conditions, the sheriff’s department began to deploy numerous resources to search for her, said sheriff spokesman Deputy Luke Schwartz.  The efforts included a number of patrol personnel in marked units, a helicopter equipped with state-of-the-art thermal imaging, canine units to help work a scent track, robbery/homicide detectives, a bloodhound provided by the Modesto Police Department, and four-wheel drive vehicles operated by the Special Vehicle Operations Unit.  Deputies were deployed to search the area not only in their vehicles, but also searched nearby Orestimba Creek, outlying creek beds, ponds, out buildings and other rural parts on foot as well, Schwartz said.

The search lasted for nearly eight hours and even required dayshift patrol personnel to respond in order to relieve graveyard deputies who were still working the investigation.  Investigators were able to breathe a sigh of relief after daybreak when a Good Samaritan called in to report spotting the woman walking alone and possibly in need of medical treatment.  Once the woman was safely returned home, family members made their own private arrangements to have her transported to a nearby healthcare facility for treatment and evaluation.

“We’re grateful the family was reunited, and I’m proud of our team for their efforts,” said Sheriff Adam Christianson. 

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