Happy reunion as missing senior is returned to care home

Published: Jun. 27, 2021 at 7:39 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 28, 2021 at 6:20 PM EDT
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BRANDON, Vt. (WCAX) - A long-term care facility in Brandon on Monday welcomed home an elderly woman who wandered away this weekend.

Ellie Cartier, 83, went missing Sunday morning and was located in the early hours of Monday.

Our Olivia Lyons was at Wintergreen North Residential Home Care as Cartier’s daughters brought her back.

Cartier is doing well. When I saw her she had just been released from the hospital.

Her daughters say they stayed positive while searching for their mom and they also have nothing bad to say about the facility.

“These guys are just as excited to see her as we are, as her family,” said Kate Cook, Ellie Cartier’s daughter.

“They love her just as much as we do, so it’s fabulous,” said Beth Cartier, Ellie Cartier’s daughter.

Ellie Cartier went missing around 8:30 a.m. Sunday. She has Alzheimer’s and is nonverbal.

She’s known for taking walks but had never left the care home in Brandon before.

Sunday’s temperatures reached into the 90s with high humidity.

“We never thought she could do it either,” Beth Cartier said.

“Physically, she’s not as strong as she used to be,” Kate Cook said. “It’s just amazing to me that she walked through the woods.”

At about 12:30 a.m. Monday, Ellie Cartier was located near a water tower. As the crow flies it is only about 3,000 feet from the long-term-care facility. Luckily, she only had a little bit of a sunburn and was dehydrated.

“We’re just excited to see her,” said Mike Jensen, who owns Wintergreen North with his wife.

Jensen says two aides were on duty, but they were with other residents and never heard Ellie Cartier leave.

“We were afraid of what could happen if the information got out that we lost a resident. But it actually turned out to be the exact opposite,” he said.

Jensen estimates between 100 and 150 people from the community, fire departments and police rallied together to help search for Ellie Cartier.

“I couldn’t believe it. I know it’s a beautiful small town, but I think everybody that they knew was here,” Beth Cartier said.

Ellie Cartier’s daughters and Jensen agree Vermont needs to have more protocols in place to alert the public when an elderly person or someone with Alzheimer’s is missing.

“Yeah for sure, and I had said to my family, whenever I hear or see anybody else that’s missing, I’m going to jump right in, just as everybody did for us,” Beth Cartier said.

Jensen says they are looking over their door alarms.

And the Rutland County Sheriff’s Office is getting Wintergreen North bracelets with GPS to track any of the residents who do tend to wander.

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