FORT WAYNE, Ind. (21Alive) -- A close call.
A Fort Wayne woman with dementia is back home and resting comfortably, hours after she went missing, prompting police to issue a special plea for help in tracking her whereabouts.
It’s a case of disaster averted.
66-year old Willie Mae Morris vanished mid-morning Thursday from her Abbott Street home.
The woman suffers from the effects of Alzheimer's disease, driving up concerns for her safety.
Police issued a "Silver Alert", seeking the public's help in solving the mystery.
Family and neighbors searched nearby.
Police used dogs to try and pick up a scent.
But hours later around noon, someone spotted Morris near a McDonald's Restaurant on East Rudisill Boulevard, more than 20 blocks away.
Police showed up, took the unharmed Morris back home to re-unite with family members, who were finally able to catch their breath.
"All the family here together, and we all just very blessed and we thank God and just very thankful she's home," said Christine Stephens, Morris’ daughter.
"You find out so many people be killing people around here, and I thank God they didn't kill my sister," said Beatrice Ward.
"She didn't know where she was going, and thank God, the Lord brought that lady back home, to her sister and her family," said Deborah Kizer, who referred to Morris as “auntie”.
"There's concern of endangerment, and that fits the criteria for a Silver Alert," said Ft. Wayne Police Department officer Michael Joyner, in the early stages of the search for the missing woman.
Police utilize Silver Alerts in cases involving someone with a validated mental impairment, where authorities eliminate alternative explanations for the disappearance.
Details are entered into the National Crime Information Center database, and media sources are contacted, to put out pertinent information, enlisting the public's help.
With this outcome, it’s hard to argue that the system can work wonders.
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