NORTH BLOOMFIELD - An elderly Norton Lane woman was found in a nearby game preserve Thursday morning about two hours after her husband reported her missing.
Trumbull County Sheriff's Office Capt. Harold Firster said Catherine Houser, 78, was found by a helicopter about 9 a.m. on the side of a pond leaning against a log. Her feet were stuck in the mud, but otherwise she was fine, Firster said. He said she was checked by paramedics and then returned to her home.
Her husband, Frank Houser, said later in the day that he was very grateful.
''All I have to say is a great, big 'thank you,''' he said.
Firster said the woman has Alzheimer's disease and went outside about 7 a.m. Her husband noticed she was not inside, and when he could not find her outside, he called 911, Firster said.
Deputies, along with members of the Bristol and Bloomfield fire departments and a K9 unit from Fowler, looked for the woman but they could not find her, so a medical helicopter was asked to help out in the search, Firster said.
''We did everything we could but still came up with nothing,'' Firster said.
The Life Flight helicopter found the woman in the preserve, which is about two miles west of her home and she was about a mile off the road, Firster said.
''She was unharmed physically but she was pretty shook up,'' he said.
Frank Houser said his wife has wandered away before, but this is the first time he has ever needed help looking for her.
''I've always been able to find her,'' he said.
Firster said time is of the essence when looking for a missing person, especially someone who is elderly and has problems such as Alzheimer's.
''The sooner we get contacted the sooner we can do something,'' Firster said.
Firster suggested that some people who have a history of wandering wear an orange vest or hat, which would make it easier for authorities to spot them if they get lost.
Frank Houser said he was thankful for all the people who took part in the search.
''It was a community effort,'' he said.