Raleigh, N.C. — An 82-year-old Romanian man who went missing from his home was found alive and safe a few blocks near his home nearly 24 hours after he went missing.
Raleigh police searched by land and by air for Ion Palanciuc, who was last seen about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at his home in the 9400 block of Dawnshire Road when he left for a walk, something his family said was common for him to do during daylight.
When he was called to dinner after 6 p.m., his daughter and son-in-law started looking for him and called police.
Shortly before 5 p.m., Mark and Jamie Stroupe, who live in the neighborhood, spotted Palanciuc, who does not speak English, and showed him a missing persons flier of himself. They then called police.
“We saw him and said Russia, and then my wife said Romania and then he said it in his Romania accent,” Mark Stroupe said.
Police officers, search dogs and a North Carolina Highway Patrol helicopter searched since Tuesday in and over the neighborhood and surrounding area, including a nearby lake.
As each hour passed, the family said they grew more concerned that something might have happened to him.
"If he was somewhere in the street, I know what can happen," his granddaughter, Ala Ghidora, said earlier Wednesday. "It was freezing outside last night. We hope somebody found him."
The family said they were happy and relieved Palanciuc was found alive and were thankful to all who assisted in the search.
"I am fine," Palanciuc said when he was reunited with his family, adding he had a headache. But he did not say where he had been. He was taken to WakeMed to be evaluated but was back home Wednesday night.
Palanciuc moved with his entire family from Romania last year to come to the United States for a better life. He does not know English, but Ghidora taught him a phrase to let others know he cannot speak the language.
She said he usually carries a piece of paper with his address but was not sure if he had it with him when he left Tuesday.
Palanciuc’s family still hasn't been able to find out from him where he was. They hope after a good night sleep, he will be able tell them more about what happened.