The search for a missing elderly man with dementia came to a tragic end.
Earl "Andy" Anderson left the Country Club Estates on Monday night, and reportedly was last seen at a Casey's General Store in Paola. However, after reviewing surveillance video, authorities determined he wasn't at the store.
His body was found about 9 a.m. Tuesday in a wooded area south of the Paola Country Club.
The Country Club staff contacted police when they realized Anderson was missing. The assisted living facility is not a nursing home and does not have the same supervision that a nursing home does.
The owner of the assisted living center would not give any information about what precautions they have in place.
Deputy Chief Don Poore said Paola police used every available officer, firefighter, search and rescue dogs and others in the search. Poor said a heat-sensor airport from Salina was deployed along with officers from Wichita.
"If we had seen him we needed to call. He'd only been missing for half an hour at that time, " said Rebecca Bearpaw who got a visit from police at the store where she works. "We kept seeing the cops circling. They were patrolling. It seemed like they were trying really hard."
The search went until 5 a.m. Tuesday when it was halted. The search resumed at 7 a.m. He was found a short time later only 150 feet from his assistance living home.
Alzheimer's advocates say often loved ones choose assisted living with good intentions when it may not be the best option.
"People try to put their loved one in, quote, 'the least restrictive environment,'" said Michelle Niedens who directs programs for the Heart of America Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association. "That is not necessarily what works with dementia. We don't think about things as least restrictive. What we think about is most successful."
Anderson's wife is 90. Police say she is understandably distraught.
"Any decision made out of love is the right one and that no one knows the perfect answer and second guessing is painful, so I wish for this family that they not feel guilty," Niedens said.
Authorities said officers were saddened and troubled that the search didn't have a good outcome. He said he knew Anderson personally and many in the small town of Paola did.
According to a federal database dating back to 2010, no citations were found against Country Club Estates.
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