Missing Ashley Pointe resident found safe in SeattleBY AMY CODISPOTI | JOURNAL REPORTER On April 3 at approximately 4:30 p.m., Lake Stevens Police were notified that a 90-year-old Lake Stevens woman was missing from her residence at Ashley Pointe.
According to police reports, the woman suffers from dementia and had been missing since 1:30 p.m. that day.
Ashley Pointe is a senior living community that offers both assisted and independent housing for retired people and offers residents the freedom to come and go as they please.
“When residents leave, we ask that they sign out, but it’s not required,” said a spokesperson from Ashley Pointe.
Lake Stevens Police Chief Randy Celori said there’s a genuine concern when someone with dementia goes missing.
“Depending on how advanced or severe the disease is, a person suffering from dementia may not make good decisions,” he said. “One of our main concerns in this case was if she was very disoriented, she could have walked into the woods or gone off the side of the road and gotten tangled up in some brush.”
As is the case with any missing person, when an individual with dementia is lost, the distress level for rescuers rises as nightfall approaches.
LSPD conducted a search of Ashley Pointe, looking in every room for the missing woman and also searched nearby areas, including a thorough search of Frontier Village stores. The police also notified Community Transit, Yellow Cab and local hospitals.
At 5:30 p.m., LSPD contacted Snohomish County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue who responded with a helicopter and approximately 30 people while King County Search and Rescue sent out two tracking dogs.
The woman was eventually located in Ballard at her previous residence at 7:45 p.m. where she was visiting a prior landlord. After she was found, a friend transported her back to Ashley Pointe.
“When she returned that evening, her family came and picked her up to take her to their home,” said a spokesperson from Ashley Pointe. “We can’t keep anyone here who doesn’t want to be here.”
Celori urges dementia patients to enroll in the Project Lifesaver program.
The program, based out of Snohomish County Sheriff’s Volunteer Search and Rescue department, provides people who suffer from dementia, and others who may be likely to become lost, with an electronic tracking bracelet.
The bracelet is equipped with a radio frequency specific to Search and Rescue so if the person becomes lost or is reported missing, Search and Rescue is able to dial the frequency into a receiver and do a 360-degree sweep of the area where the person was last seen.
The signal can be picked up within one mile of the receiver and helicopters can pick up the signal within several miles.
Celori said that the bracelet betters the odds of finding the lost person quickly and, most importantly, alive.
The program can also save a lot of taxpayer money. In this situation, the cost of the search easily exceeded more than $10,000 in service costs, Celori said.
“When someone is in peril, there’s no price tag on that,” Celori said. “But, the tracking bracelet helps rescuers find the person much faster and that’s good for everyone involved.”
The bracelets cost approximately $200 each with a $15 a month monitoring fee, billed quarterly.
“It’s relatively inexpensive,” Celori said. “However, if there are people who are having funding issues, there are alternative ways of paying this.”
Those interested in learning more about Project Lifesaver, its costs and available funding can contact the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office.
“Financial aid is available and we want to make sure no one is turned away,” said a spokesperson for Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office.