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Silver Alert issued for Cary teen

Posted September 4, 2012

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— Authorities were searching Tuesday for a missing 16-year-old Cary girl who is believed to be cognitively impaired.

The North Carolina Center for Missing Persons issued a Silver Alert for Sidney Leeann McEllwee around 3:30 p.m. She was last seen at 201 Chimney Rise Drive and may be headed to Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, authorities said.

McEllwee is white, with long brown hair and brown eyes, 5 feet 6 inches tall and about 110 pounds.

Anyone with information on her whereabouts is asked to call Cary police at 919-469-4012.

Developed in 2007, the Silver Alert system quickly notifies 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.


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  • ladybug68 Sep 4, 2012

    I hope they find your sister soon and that she is safe. Many folks do not understand how paralyzing depression and anxiety can be. prayers for you and the family and especially for Sidney..

  • heatherboo415 Sep 4, 2012

    This is my sister. She suffers from severe depression, anxiety, and is feared to be suicidal. And shes been missing since Sunday.

  • Diva RN Sep 4, 2012

    It seems to me, from the Silver Alerts that I've seen on young people, that they can use "cognitively impaired" when the person has been diagnosed with any sort of mental illness, not just those that have developmental disabilities. So if this is actually how it works, if I decided to up and leave because I'm an adult and that's my right (not the case for this girl, but probably for some others I've seen), my family or someone else could in theory take out a Silver Alert on me because I have a history of depression and anxiety. Kinda scary. But I seriously doubt there are that many teens and twenty-somethings with Alzheimer's or another form of dementia where they might just "wander off" and legitimately not know where they are.

  • gingerlynn Sep 4, 2012

    Good thing she didn't go missing in Durham, since they don't seem to have time to issue silver alerts. RE - the man who was reported missing but no alert was issued. The girlfriend had to find the body 300 yards from where he was last seen. :(

  • Obamacare is back again Sep 4, 2012

    Sometimes I believe myself to be cognitively impaired.

  • raleigh292 Sep 4, 2012

    "believed to be cognitively impaired"?? "may be headed to Western Carolina University in Cullowhee"??

    So we don't know she is impaired or not and she may be headed to Cullowhee. Is this a silver aleart or no 24 hour waiting period for a missing person (run away)?

  • Scubagirl Sep 4, 2012

    Hoping she's found safely, but I just have to ask.....At 16 wouldn't it be KNOWN that she was cognitively impaired?