Local News

Project Lifesaver helps find missing Knightdale girl

Posted October 30, 2009 9:37 p.m. EDT
Updated October 31, 2009 7:53 a.m. EDT

— Wake County sheriff's deputies quickly found a missing 8-year-old girl with autism by tracking an electronic bracelet she was wearing, said spokeswoman Phyllis Stephens.

Stephens said the girl wandered away from her home and was reported missing shortly before 6 p.m. By tracking the bracelet, deputies found her about a mile from her home in 24 minutes.

Stephens said the girl had gotten the bracelet through Project Lifesaver, a rapid-response program to locate people with brain disorders who wander away from their caregivers.

"Having Project Lifesaver certainly paid off tonight," Sheriff Donnie Harrison said. "A ground search for this child could have taken hours, but with our training and this equipment, we found her in 24 minutes and safely returned her home."

The Wake County Sheriff’s Office and the Pilot Club of Raleigh co-sponsor Project Lifesaver. People with conditions such as Alzheimer’s, autism, Down’s syndrome and dementia are eligible.

Participants wear a bracelet with a battery-operated transmitter that emits a tracking signal. If the person wanders away, the caregiver can notify law enforcement, and officers use a mobile receiver to pick up the signal from the missing person's bracelet.

The Wake County Sheriff's Office conducts the search-and-rescue effort, and Pilot Club members enroll clinets and maintain the bracelets.

Wake County joined Project Lifesaver in 2007.