McCANDLESS (KDKA) — A cell phone helped rescue crews locate an elderly man who went missing this morning from an assisted living facility in McCandless.

Two hours after he had wandered out of Sunrise Assisted Living, the 78-year-old resident walked back into the building.

Disoriented and possibly lost, it was a phone call to his wife that led search crews to his location.

“He didn’t know exactly where he was, but began to describe the location,” said Lt. Donald O’Conner, of the McCandless Police Department.

When the call came in around 6 a.m., police and the Peebles Volunteer Fire Department snapped into action. Not only using police dogs, but the fire deparmtent’s search ATV and a thermal imaging camera to comb the wooded area around the home.

“It enabled us to scan an area pretty quick,” said Lt. O’Conner. “So we covered from here up to McKnight.”

It turned out, he wasn’t in the woods or in the building; but a good distance away at a different retirement home.

Search crews found him at the Vincentian home, about a mile walk including crossing busy McKnight Road to get there.

Dressed in jeans and a baseball hat, police said he likely went unnoticed as a missing person and looked more like a morning walker. McCandless police said that Sunrise does have proper procedures in place.

“They got a door alarm in the rear of the building and immediately began a search and notified 911 which prompted this search,” said Lt. O’Conner. “They knew right away that somebody had left. So, they’re protocols were followed, and they worked. It’s just that he got a little bit further than we expected because he is so ambulatory.”

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