Elderly man found alive after spending night in the woods
Posted March 23
New Hill, N.C. — An elderly man reported missing after walking away from a rest home on Saturday was found alive early Sunday afternoon.
David Lee Bennett, 84, was admitted to the James Rest Home in New Hill on Friday. He was missing from the home Saturday afternoon.
Residents can come and go as they please from the facility unless they’re classified as a wanderer, which Bennett was not, the facility manager said. An employee followed Bennett but lost sight of him in nearby woods, where rescuers searched for him Sunday.
He was found less than a mile from the facility. He was conscious and alert when found and was transported to Western Wake Hospital for further examination, authorities said.
Volunteers from the Civil Air Patrol, along with the Wake County Sheriff's Office and local fire departments, searched for Bennett.
“Time is always of the essence, particularly finding someone that’s been out overnight in the elements,” said Andy Wiggs with the patrol, the U.S. Air Force’s auxiliary group.
The area, which Bennett was not familiar with, is described as swampy and full of thick brush. The search included four wheelers, six-person teams on foot, K-9 units and help from the air.
Emergency management officials made a reverse 911 call, alerting people living within a 5 mile radius about Bennett.
“We have utilized that system before and I've seen it work with my own eyes,” said Sgt. Dave Bradford with the sheriff’s office.