OREM (ABC4 News) – The Utah Department of Public Safety issued the state’s first Silver Alert Monday afternoon in an attempt to locate an 80-year-old Orem man who suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease.
Silver Alerts are similar to Amber Alerts for endangered adults 60 or older or for anyone suffering from a form of dementia. The Utah Legislature passed a Silver Alert Law this past session and implemented a system to put information about missing elderly people on road signs.
Rep. Lee Perry, R-Perry, was the House Sponsor of the Silver Alert Law.
“It’ll help law enforcement have a set of policies and a plan to follow,” Rep. Perry said. “So that when someone goes missing likes this we can get the word out as quickly as possible, and we’ll be able to find them.”
But a Silver Alert was never issued when 68-year-old Edward Reynolds went missing from Goshen last month. His truck was located stuck in a ditch south of Elberta and his body was discovered days later about 5 miles away.
On Sunday morning, 80-year-old Alzheimer’s patient Robert Jones drove away from his home in Orem. Even though his worried family provided police with his photo and a description of his car they didn’t immediately issue an alert.
Earlier Monday, ABC4 asked Orem Police Department Lieutenant Trent Colledge how come a Silver Alert was not issued for Mr. Jones.
“That’s a good question,” Lt. Colledge replied. “I don’t even know what a Silver Alert would be. You want to fill me in on that a little bit?”
After ABC4 explained, Lt. Colledge said, “That I don’t know. Maybe our detectives are in the process of doing that or I know he has been listed as missing and endangered as well as his vehicle.”
Utah’s first-ever Silver Alert was finally issued at 4:04 pm after Jones was spotted at a Little Caesars in Winnemucca, Nevada.
Hours after the alert was published, he was located when he used his card again at a gas station in Wilder, Idaho.
“He is in good health and had one epic road trip. Thank you for all the shares, we have the best followers around,” a post on the Orem Police Dept. stated.
Mr. Jones’ daughter-in-law Stephanie Jones told ABC4 that his family wants to get the word out about Silver Alerts so another family doesn’t have to go through this same ordeal.