Pinehurst, N.C. — Pinehurst police were searching Wednesday for an 83-year-old man after his caregiver allegedly kidnapped him from a rehab center and never returned.
Henry Eugene Aiken, who has dementia, was last seen at Pinehurst Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, 300 Blake Blvd., in Moore County. Facility spokesman Thad Morgan said Aiken had been living there for at least one week and was checked in by Carol Ocause, who was also listed as his caregiver.
On Monday afternoon, Ocause, 68, picked up Aiken to take him to a doctor's appointment. They never showed up at the doctor's office and, when they didn't return to the rehab facility after several hours, the staff became alarmed.
"The care facility dutifully notified the Moore County Department of Social Services of Ms. Ocause's failure to return Mr. Aiken to the facility following his appointment," Morgan said in a statement.
Arrest warrants have been issued charging Ocause with kidnapping, but neither she nor Aiken have been seen since leaving Pinehurst Healthcare.
Deputy Police Chief Floyd Thomas said Aiken's family is very concerned about his well being.
"Mr. Aiken has dementia, onset of Alzheimer's and he also has some medical issues the Department of Social Services are really concerned about that could cause him some real problems if he doesn't get treated and seen (by a doctor) real soon," Thomas said. "We are very concerned."
Aiken is black, stands 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighs about 130 pounds, authorities said. He has gray hair, black eyes and wears glasses. Authorities were not sure what Aiken was wearing when he went missing.
Ocause is believed to be driving a silver 2008 Mercedes ML-350 with NC license tag YPZ 5494.
Anyone with information should call the Pinehurst Police Department at 910-295-3141.
The North Carolina Center for Missing Persons issued a Silver Alert for Aiken around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Developed in 2007, the Silver Alert system quickly notifies the public about missing endangered people 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.