The elderly Alzheimer’s patient reported missing at around 2:30 Friday afternoon was found safe.
Robert Tutt, 75, was found at the Department of Social Services on East Main Street just before 4 p.m. He was taken to the police station to be reunited with his family.
Officers say Tutt’s wife reported his disappearance at the Batavia Police station after he left the vehicle at Main and Jackson Streets and she lost sight of him. Officers were all over the City of Batavia looking for the missing man, going door to door on some city streets.
“It’s critical,” Det. Sgt. Pat Corona said. “It’s not like your typical missing person. It’s a situation where you have to bring in all your resources and find them as quickly as you can because history has shown that very quickly they get into a situation where they’re in distress.”
Corona says it’s also difficult to find missing persons with Alzheimer’s because they typically won’t respond to calling their name and will try to hide themselves. In fact, crews were told to search in bushes and shrubs in the City of Batavia.
Corona explains how Tutt may have ended up at DSS.
“It seems to me it would be a logical place if someone had contact with a disoriented person,” Corona said. “That might be where they would bring that person to. But we won’t know and (Tutt) can’t help us.”
Tutt was equipped with a tracking device on his ankle like many Alzheimer’s patients. From prior training, Corona immediately knew what to do in a time-sensitive situation.
“I learned about these tracking devices,” Corona said, “and I learned that the VA police here locally have a receiving device that they use for their campus. I got ahold of Lt. (David) Morales and he indicated that if we have the frequency for (Tutt’s) device, they could program that into the tracking device, they could use it to assist us.”
“As we get closer to the frequency, the limitations of this device (appear),” Lt. David Morales of VA police said as he utilized the equipment. “Anything over two miles we’re not going to get a signal. Basically, we have to just go through the process of elimination as far as walking in all four directions until we can detect a signal.”
The device was used for several blocks in the City of Batavia before Tutt was found at DSS. Although it wasn’t directly attributable to finding Tutt, officers say it was a fortunate day that they were prepared and trained for.