Tracking Device Helps Cops Rescue Missing Yorktown Man with Dementia

An 86-year-old Yorktown man with dementia, who wandered away from his home Sunday night in freezing temperatures, was found in a ditch and rescued by police thanks to a tracking device through a service known as Project Lifesaver.
The man, whose identity was not released, was wearing a special, plastic bracelet that emits a radio signal. Thanks to that device, police were able to locate the man in about 30 minutes and get him to the Hudson Valley Hospital Center in Cortlandt.

"Project Lifesaver truly lived up to its name on Sunday night," Kieran O'Leary, Westchester County Police spokesman, said. "Given the freezing temperatures and the light jacket and sweatpants that the man was wearing, he could have died of hypothermia had he not been found in a timely manner."

O'Leary said Westchester County Police were notified by the Yorktown Police Department on Jan. 19 at about 7:10 p.m. that the man had walked away from his home about 10 minutes earlier and could not be located.  

County Police Officers Brian Tierney and David Lincoln picked up the signal along Curry Street and followed it into a wooded area, coming out into backyards on Tulip Drive. When the signal weakened officers went back into the woods where they eventually found the man lying out of sight in a ditch on the back side of a hill at about 7:40 p.m.

He suffered from hypothermia and minor injuries sustained when he fell into the ditch, but was all right. He was rescued about two-tenths of a mile from his home, officials said. 

Project Lifesaver is a free program that uses radio-frequency technology to find missing elderly seniors who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia and return them safely to their families. They wear a plastic bracelet that emits a unique radio frequency. Westchester County Police carry equipment that enables officers to pick up the radio signal and track it to the area where the missing person is located.

The incident on Sunday is the eighth successful rescue of a person utilizing Project Lifesaver technology since the program came to Westchester about five years ago.

Services for Project Lifesaver, which is a national program, are available through the Westchester County Department of Senior Programs and Services. For more information click here or call 914-813-6300.


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