Active Search for Missing Elderly Woman in Albemarle County
75-year-old Evelyn Turner (center in the brown coat) was last seen leaving the West Park Market on Four Seasons Drive around 9 p.m.
An Albemarle County family is begging for the community's help to find a grandmother missing since Friday night.
Police have issued a Senior Alert - the senior equivalent to an Amber Alert - for 75-year-old Evelyn Turner. They say she has dementia and was last seen asking for directions to get home.
Turner's family says they knew something was wrong when they went to her apartment in Albemarle County last night and she was nowhere to be found. A tip from a nearby store clerk sparked a frantic call to police and an all-day search to find their loved one.
Albemarle police say Turner was last seen leaving the West Park Market on Four Seasons Drive around 9 p.m. Friday, after she told a store clerk she was confused and needed directions home.
Turner's family says she lives in the Arbor Crest apartment complex, about two miles from the store. Surveillance footage from police shows Turner in the market before she disappeared.
Turner's family is asking for the public's help in the search to bring her home.
Lewis Myrick, Turner's son-in-law, said, "She's an outgoing person that likes people, very pleasant person. She's rather forgetful, so we love her very much - been married to her daughter for 30 years and she's a delight to the whole family. We're hoping somebody has seen her and can return her to us."
Turner suffers from dementia, but Myrick says she does not have a history of wandering off.
Police are asking anyone who has been within a two mile radius of the area she was last seen to check their vehicles and property. If you see or have seen anyone who looks like Turner, call 911.
Meanwhile, the active ground search for Turner is on hold until daylight. Nearly two dozen volunteers and law enforcement from around the region worked throughout the day to find her.
When a person is elderly or suffers from dementia, like Turner, the search becomes much more complicated.
Law enforcement and volunteers huddled around a map of the neighborhoods around Albemarle High School, as part of a thorough search coordinated by the Albemarle County Sheriff's Office.
Albemarle County Sheriff Chip Harding said, "We use a mapping procedure that grids out the area. We print the maps in the command vehicle and people are given certain sections to search."
The search to find turner started in the early morning hours Saturday. Deputies combed the ground around the market where she was last seen Friday night. K-9 teams tried to track her path.
"We get out as fast as possible with usually 15 or 20 people like last night and we saturate the immediate area as fast as possible," Harding said.
Harding says a missing person's health and mental well-being are always considered. Conditions like dementia can make the search more difficult.
"Someone that's in her state could have potentially shut down at this point," Harding said. "They could hit a barrier like a fence behind someone's house and you could walk by them or ride by them and they may not even understand that they are lost and seek assistance."
The additional volunteer manpower assists county crews, but they all work against a ticking clock.
Harding said, "The biggest drawback is particularly at night you can't do it is people don't know who you are they look out their window and see someone walking with a flashlight . . . Ugly things can happen so we don't put people in that position, so it really slows people down."
Harding expects to pick up the search at dawn Sunday morning. Until then, the area around Albemarle High School will be heavily patrolled.
Albemarle County Sheriff's Office Press Release
Albemarle Sheriff --Active Search for Missing Elderly Woman
The Albemarle Police Department requested the Albemarle Search and Rescue Unit take over the search for an elderly woman who is believed to be suffering from dementia at 1:30 this morning. She was last seen leaving the West Park Market on Four Seasons Drive around 9pm after telling a clerk she was confused and needed some directions to get home. A police blood hound and a number of police officers searched the area with negative results until 1:30 am.
The Albemarle Sheriff's Office Search group has been searching for her on foot and from vehicles since 2am with no results. We are asking citizens within a 2 mile area to check their vehicles and property for her. We also ask as you travel in that area today to notify 911 immediately if you see someone meeting her description.
Evelyn Turner Black, Female, age 75, 5'1" 140 lbs. Grey hair, glasses Believed to wearing a brown coat and dark hat
The Sheriff's Office has their Command Trailer staged in front of Albemarle High School and has been in contact, during the night, with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. The plan is that if Ms. Turner is not located by mid-morning a state wide call out for additional resources will be made. Reverse 911 calls will begin to phones in the general area of Four Seasons at 6:30 am.
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