Local nursing home resident disappears; found in Rutherford
By: John Brannon Messenger Staff Reporter
By JOHN BRANNON
Messenger Staff Reporter
Whoever helped an elderly and confused resident of the Obion County Nursing Home leave the facility Sunday evening may be prosecuted, according to administrator Tom Reddick.
“Details are sketchy right now, but I’m just happy he was found safe and unharmed,” he said.
Withholding the name for privacy reasons, Reddick said the resident is a 72-year-old white male who had been a resident at the facility only three weeks.
“He called somebody to assist him. He had this planned,” Reddick said. “He was wearing a ‘Wander Guard,’ to keep him in the facility.”
A Wander Guard is a wrist or ankle bracelet that automatically locks a door and triggers an alarm if the wearer exits through the door. The alarm alerts the staff of an unauthorized departure.
“He cut the ‘Wander Guard’ off and left our facility,” Reddick continued. “That was about 8 o’clock Sunday evening. As soon as the staff noticed he wasn’t here, they did a thorough search and couldn’t find him. Meanwhile, they notified me as well as our director of nursing and the rescue squad and the sheriff’s department. The rescue squad and sheriff’s people were quick to respond. They came out and searched the area.
“As it turns out, he had called somebody and paid them to pick him up and drive him to Rutherford. We don’t know who he got to do it.
“He was found in Rutherford about midnight. Law enforcement officials transferred him to a hospital emergency room. He is still under care of the hospital and is in the process of being transferred to a behavioral hospital for evaluation,” Reddick said.
“Before this happened, he had made no effort to leave the nursing home. We have a good security system here, but nothing’s foolproof. Our staff responded immediately and did what they were supposed to do. The rescue squad and the sheriff’s department came out here immediately.
“We just thank everybody who had a hand in resolving this matter. He was found safe and unharmed, and that’s what we wanted. This thing is still under investigation, and charges may be filed against whoever it was that picked him up and drove him to Rutherford.”
Published in The Messenger 12.31.07