LEE COUNTY, Fla.- WINK News was there as law enforcement spent 18 hours searching for a missing elderly woman last night by air, land and water. She disappeared from the Edison and Ford Homes and showed up this morning near Gladiolus and U.S. 41. WINK News finds out about a tracking program that makes it easier to find missing people.
"Without a bracelet, it could take days to find somebody and by that time often their life is in danger."
A bracelet can be the difference between life or death-- working off radio frequency, it can find a missing person in a short amount of time.
"We can average finding the person in about 30 minutes once we receive the phone call that they've wandered off, versus several days," said Community Relation Manager Stacey Payne with LCSO.
Project Lifesaver is offered through the Lee County Sheriff's Office. It's geared towards people who are prone to wander or who can't communicate efficiently. We're talking elderly people who may suffer from alzheimers disease or children with autism.
"It gives you peace of mind will allow you to get sleep at night, take a walk and know your loved one can be found," said Payne.
The sheriff's office showed us how it works by simulating a missing person's case.
"As soon as we are alerted they have wandered off, we take the equipment out and it starts pinging that individual and we can follow that sound to the person."
That pinging alerts a deputy the missing person they are looking for is close and whether or not they are headed in the right direction. On Wednesday, a lot of man power was used to search for 79-year-old Irena Szurant who wandered away from the Edison Estates. The search was successful and Irena was found 18 hours later.
Seasonal and full time residents are eligible for Project Lifesaver. To apply for the life saving bracelet with the sheriff's office, visit this link..