Lehigh Valley

Project Lifesaver assists police in finding the lost

EMMAUS, Pa. - "We knew what the disease does to someone and we also knew the possibility that at some point he could wander off," explained Jennifer Gilly.

On a 24-degree night earlier this month Gilly's dad, 69-year-old Joe Schmoyer, who suffers from dementia, left his Emmaus home without a jacket and one shoe.

He was found by Emmaus police a block away from his home a half hour after he left.

"It was a matter of minutes until we got our first reading on the client and were able to pinpoint his location. Without the equipment we wouldn't have known which direction he went," said Emmaus Police Chief Charles Palmer.

Schmoyer was found with Project Lifesaver. The no-cost program to clients is a search and rescue system that uses a transponder secured to the individual and a radio signal to track down those prone to wandering off.

More than 3,300 people have been found nationwide within a half an hour.

After 5-year-old Jayliel Vega Batista died wandering off from his Allentown home in 2016, local activist Martha Liberman got the program up and running in the Lehigh Valley. So far, six departments use the system, including Emmaus.

"It gets checked daily, when you put on the bracelet it lights up to show that it is working," Gilly explained.

Call it a lifesaving move.

For more information you can contact your local police department.

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