New alert system could help find missing adults - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

New alert system could help find missing adults

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February 7, 2006

Valdosta - Terrie May runs My Friend's House, an Alzheimer's Day Care. It's not uncommon for people with her clients' condition to wander off, so she's always on alert. "We have to either lock the doors or just keep an extra lookout for them," said May.

Fortunately, she's never had a client go missing, but if it did happen, she'd want all the help she could get to find them. Georgia lawmakers are considering a proposal that will provide that assistance. "They're really helpless when they wander away," said May.

It's called "Mattie's Call," a system similar to the Levi's Call system used for missing children. Caregivers say disabled adults are in just as much danger as a child is when they're out on their own. "Most of these people can't tell you their name, where they're from, or even what they had for breakfast that morning," said Jan Brice, Langdale Place Director.

When a person is reported missing, an alert would immediately go out to law enforcement and media outlets across the state. "If there's other people out there who can help me bring somebody home, whether it be a law enforcement person or the person across the street who hears it on the radio, whatever you can do is going to be a plus," said Brice.

The city of Atlanta started using the "Mattie's Call" system a little over a year ago, and of the eleven alerts that have gone out since then, all have been successful in finding the missing person alive. Caregivers hope lawmakers will approve the system, so it can do the same for disabled adults in our area.

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