Less than two weeks after the launch of LA Found -- a Los Angeles countywide program to help find people with autism, dementia or Alzheimer's disease when they go missing -- a man and woman who wandered away were reunited with their families using bracelets issued by the program, it was announced Friday.
In the first incident, a 65-year old man who suffers from Alzheimer's went missing from his Altadena home at 5:45 a.m. Thursday, according to Liz Odendahl, communications director for Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn.
A hiker found the man, who was wearing a Project Lifesaver tracking bracelet provided by LA Found, in an Altadena Ranch property, but the man was unable to tell the good Samaritan his name, Odendahl said.
Los Angeles police officers responded and recognized the bracelet and contacted the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department with the serial number on the device. Sheriff's officials used the serial number on the device to confirm the man's identity and reunite him with his family, Odendahl said.
The second incident occurred about 10 a.m. Friday when a 76-year-old woman with Alzheimer's disease went missing in a Huntington Park neighborhood.
Her family notified law enforcement about 4 p.m. and the sheriff's department dispatched four units with Project Lifesaver receivers and a helicopter unit with a receiver to look for the woman, Odendahl said.
Shortly after units were deployed, the woman was located at the Los Angeles Police Department's Newton Station. She was unable to identify herself, but officers worked with deputies to identify the woman based on the serial number on her Project Lifesaver bracelet, said Odendahl.
"We launched LA Found last week and I am so grateful that it has already helped reunite two wandering individuals with their families," said Hahn, who championed the program.
"Remember, if your loved one wanders away and goes missing, call 911 immediately and inform law enforcement if they have a Project Lifesaver bracelet. Do not wait. That person could be a danger to themselves and law enforcement can help you find them quickly."
While neither individual was located using the LA Found tracking devices, law enforcement was able to use the serial numbers on the bracelets to identify the individuals and reunite them with their families -- a process that would have taken longer without these bracelets, Odendahl said.