Local News

Missing Raleigh man found dead

Posted March 1, 2010

— A body found Monday morning in a field in south Raleigh is that of a man who was the subject of a Silver Alert.

Raleigh police identified the body, found near the intersection of Old Stage Road and U.S. Highway 401, as that of Gerald Lee Mitchell Jr., 57.

Are Silver Alerts effective? Are Silver Alerts effective?

The North Carolina Center for Missing Persons issued the Silver Alert Jan. 21 after his family had not seen him since Jan. 19.

Although police do not suspect foul play in Mitchell's death, his body will undergo an autopsy to determine a cause of death, police said.

Developed in 2007, Silver Alert is a system to quickly notify the public about missing endangered adults who suffer from dementia or other cognitive impairments, such as Alzheimer's disease.

It also allows caregivers and nursing homes to report a person missing. In the past, only a family member could report an adult missing.

As of Monday afternoon, there were four active Silver Alerts in the state, according to the Center for Missing Persons Web site.

There were 239 alerts issued in 2009. So far this year, there have been 30.

Sgt. Steve Greene, spokesman for the Center for Missing Persons, said thanks to the alert, most of those missing are found alive.

"Our success rate has been high," he said. "When we put a Silver Alert out, the public has been responding."


This story is closed for comments.

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  • The Fox Mar 1, 2010

    The area government needs to put the info on the Interstate signs instead of just a phone number- like they used to do. Charlotte puts all the info out there including a color picture.

  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT Mar 1, 2010

    3forme: "death row...even if it finds only one person it was worth the effort.."

    Interesting. This is exactly the same thing Christians say when they have a Revival. And I'll agree, its true. BUT... would some media outlet PLEASE do a success story and prove to us that the Silver Alert System actually prompted a private citizen to find someone missing, while they were still alive.

  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT Mar 1, 2010

    kcfoxie, I stand corrected. The article did say the authorities "don't suspect" foul play. Meaning, it still could be foul play pending the autopsy. My bad. I didn't read it clearly. My apologies.

    This will sound mean, but its true in real life. I believe Amber Alerts are taken differently by the public. (Again, speaking from reality, not as it should be) People see children as helpless beings among a cruel world. But I don't believe the public sees adults with cognitive impairments as helpless beings. I have a parent who has very advanced Alzheimers. So I'm very aware of their helplessness. But I honestly don't believe the public can see an adult as helpless, even with an impairment. So this is probably the main reason the Silver Alerts are overlooked more so mthan the Amber Alerts.

  • 3forme Mar 1, 2010

    death row...even if it finds only one person it was worth the effort..

  • kcfoxie Mar 1, 2010

    Deathrow - it said they don't suspect foul play was involved. Lots of cases have started out thinking it was an honest death and then found, no, it was a murder.

    I also understand your skepticism but my original response stands: I suppose Amber Alert is just as useless.

  • Adelinthe Mar 1, 2010

    DeathRow - "Its a rare event if I ever get past the headline on these Silver Alerts."

    What a shame.

    What if it were one of your loved ones missing and in need.

    You never know.

    God bless.


  • Adelinthe Mar 1, 2010

    Poor thing!

    Praying for his loved ones.

    Wonder why no one searched that big open field in the first place.

    God bless.


  • donnaferguson Mar 1, 2010

    I spent many years working in dementia care. Anyone who has experience with this knows that 'wandering' is a large part of the disease early on. Many family members, even caregivers opt for some reason not to educate themselves about the disease...hence this outcome. Sad for everyone involved.

  • jrfergerson Mar 1, 2010

    happy - Why couldn't we microchip our loved ones with mental disabilities and congitive impairment with a chip that has GPS tracking abilities? Don't worry that will come in time for all of us - read God's word on that.

  • xsummachicax Mar 1, 2010