Rescue crews search for missing Clinton County senior

Published: Oct. 27, 2021 at 12:23 PM EDT
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REDFORD, N.Y. (WCAX) - Authorities on Wednesday said they remain hopeful searchers can find a Clinton County senior missing since early Tuesday.

New York State Police say Rita Wilson, 78, walked away from her home in Redford. She suffers from dementia and was last seen around 7:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Pickups were piling up in Redford Wednesday with searchers heading to their next location.

“The main search yesterday was literally right through the village,” said DEC Forest Ranger Lt. Brian Dubay. He says the search territory is widespread, including back yards, woodlands, and the Saranac River. “Basically grid search, or what we’re calling linear searching, just shy of Mud Pond Brook.”

They have boots on the ground and helicopters assisting from the sky. “She was last seen with a red jacket and the word “Cortland” on it,” said New York State Police Lt. Troy Granmoe.

Rita Wilson
Rita Wilson(Photo provided)

They are asking the public to search their yards, garages, or places someone could hide. They are also asking those with trail cameras to review the footage. “A person with dementia can do strange things. A person when they are cold can do some strange things,” Dubay said.

And authorities say no tip is too small. “Anything that would be helpful as far as the search goes, we will track down,” Granmoe said. And every location searched is then searched again.

“We know one set of eyes can look one way,” Dubay said.

Tuesday’s weather added complications to the search. “We have to take care of the searchers’ safety first, so we actually didn’t let certain people go in the field, they didn’t have the gear,” Dubay said.

But they are hopeful for safe Wilson’s return home. “I’ve been doing this for 30 years. I’m always surprised what the body can endure, so we are still looking for a walking, talking Rita. We’ve seen this for many days, of this type of weather and people still survive it. People are stronger than we think,” Dubay said.

Volunteers are asked to dress prepared or you will be told to go home. That includes proper boots, raincoats, and a backpack with food. Also, wear bright colors because it is hunting season.

Authorities say they will continue to search until they find her.

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