K-9 unit helps find missing W.Va. woman

June 24, 2005|By CANDICE BOSLEY

HEDGESVILLE, W.Va. ? A 73-year-old woman with Alzheimer's disease was found in a heavily wooded area Thursday afternoon, nearly 18 hours after she wandered away from her home, police said.

The woman was found by a search and rescue dog named Shilo, whose handler, Elaine Merceruio, is with EVAK K-9 Search and Rescue, the West Virginia State Police said.

Police did not release the woman's name, citing her medical condition. She lives in the Cherry Run Village subdivision outside of Hedgesville.


The woman's husband told police that his wife had wandered away from home at around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday. He said he searched the area around his house but was not able to find her.

By Thursday afternoon, State Police Troopers J.D. Burkhart and H.D. Heil, members of the Hedgesville Volunteer Fire Department, Berkeley Springs Volunteer Fire Department and Berkeley County Sheriff's Department Cpl. Will Henderson, a K-9 handler, were searching for the woman.

A Maryland State Police helicopter also responded, police said.

The woman, who was disoriented and had minor injuries, was taken to City Hospital, police said in the release.

West Virginia State Police Sgt. S.E. Davis said this was not the first time the woman left her home.

A couple of weeks ago, Davis drove the woman home after she turned up at a stranger's house, he said.

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