A missing Plano woman was found safe early Thursday morning after getting lost on her way home from the doctor.
The husband of 75-year-old Annamarie Doyle contacted Plano police around 8 p.m. Wednesday after his wife did not return home from an afternoon medical appointment. Doyle had last been seen around 3:30 p.m. driving her Jeep Liberty.
Police issued a Silver Alert when they failed to locate her. After reviewing her credit card activity, police found transactions were made at a Lewisville 7-Eleven around 10 p.m., and a Denton 7-Eleven around 1:30 a.m. Thursday.
A clerk at the Denton store said a woman matching Doyle’s description had asked for directions to Plano.
“She just got lost and kept driving,” said Officer David Tilley, Plano Police Department spokesman.
Around 4 a.m., another transaction was made with Doyle’s card at a Days Inn in Pauls Valley, Okla.
Plano police contacted Pauls Valley police, who were able to locate Doyle. She answered their questions correctly, but had no idea where she was.
Pauls Valley officers got in touch with Doyle’s husband, who made arrangements to get her home safe.
“We were more than happy to help the Plano Police Department,” said Pauls Valley Police Chief Mitch McGill. “I’m happy that our night-shift officers were able to assist her.”
Issuing a Silver Alert has proven effective in locating missing elderly residents, but it is sometimes difficult to initiate one.
For the alert system to be activated, the missing person must be over 65 and diagnosed with an impaired medical condition.
“This can be a challenge late at night if we are trying to get in touch with doctors,” Tilley said. “Some people may be in the early stages of dementia and not officially diagnosed.”
Police must also suspect the person is missing because of their medical condition, and they must have some information for the public to use. For example, highway notification signs are only activated if public safety officials have related vehicle or license plate information to share.
According to Tilley, even if all conditions aren’t met, police will still alert the media if they believe the public can help.
Once the alert is initiated, police departments across the nation spring into action. Only a few hours after the Silver Alert for Doyle was issued, a Louisiana police department contacted Tilley to see how they could help.