FORT LAWN, S.C. (CN2 NEWS) – She’s found. Two words bringing much relief to one family and an entire community.
Judy Pate, 79 years old, living with Dementia went missing since Tuesday morning when officials say she wandered off from her senior home, Helms Gordon Residential Care in Fort Lawn.
According to Sheriff Dorsey, Pate left the center around 9:14 AM on Tuesday. The facility reported her missing about 4 hours later, Dorsey says.
Late this Thursday afternoon, cheers were heard when she was found alive and responsive in an area volunteers and first responders have search several times this week on Cemetery Road.
The Parking Lot of Fort Lawn Fire Department is clearing out as volunteers and first responding are now leaving and smiling now that Judy Pate has been found alive and responsive.
Chester County Sheriff Max Dorsey Thanking God, volunteers, first responders and even technology.
Sheriff Dorsey says his department worked hard to get the drone that is now credited for finding Pate in a wooded area, in a creek bed off Cemetery Road.
Sheriff Dorsey says the drone pilot spotted Pate and then crews rushed in to rescue her.
She was flown to a hospital in Charlotte. Dorsey says Pate was responsive and even talking when they found her.
Sheriff Dorsey not only praising the department’s latest technology but also first responders, friends of Pate, and even complete strangers for not giving up on the search that began Tuesday afternoon after Pate was reported missing.
Pate’s nephew David Elliott spoke on behalf of the family and said, “it is really emotional because you expect the worst, but here today, we have come to realize that God had a plan and he has a perfect plan. So to God be the glory to that and we thank these guys for helping us.”
CN2 did try to speak with those with Helms Gordon Residential Care, where Judy was living but they did not want to comment.
South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control says it investigating Helms Gordon about this alleged incident. Below is DHEC’s statement.
“Community residential care facility (CRCF) administrators are required by regulation to report every incident involving a resident that leaves the premises for more than 24 hours without notice to staff members of intent to leave to local law enforcement, the resident’s responsible party, and DHEC. The administrator is required to immediately notify local law enforcement and the responsible party by telephone when a cognitively impaired resident leaves the premises for any amount of time without notice to staff members.”
Members of Pate’s church where she played the Organ for many years, Antioch Baptist Church in Lancaster, helped with the search as well as friends from other states and communities.
The church’s pastor, Trent McLaughlin says Pate is a faithful woman and they knew they needed to search for, having faith she would be found alive.