Stranger helps find elderly woman with dementia after seeing Facebook post

Kimberly Kuizon reports

- The worst fears of many families with loved ones suffering with dementia came true for a North Port family Super Bowl Sunday. Thankfully, their story had a happy ending when a man stepped up to help find her.

When Patti Snider's mother, who suffers from dementia disappeared from their home, she said a sense of panic unfolded.

"We don't know what she was doing or what was going through her head. I don't know. She was just so confused," Snider explained of her mother's state of mind.

For about two hours, North Port officers searched for the 82-year-old, who uses a walker.

"The time went was so long and we had the K9 out here, almost the entire police department out here," Snider said.

Officers flooded the area, looking for her mother, Patricia. They had no luck. It wasn't until a department employee posted the missing woman's information on its Facebook page that a break came in the case.

"I told my wife, 'it's so close to our house. I'm going to go and see if I can find her," Rod English said.

English was a few miles away. He was getting ready to watch the Super Bowl, but he saw the Facebook post and knew he needed to help.

"My mother has had dementia for eight years. I just have a soft spot in my heart for elderly people, especially elderly people with dementia," he said.

After 10 minutes of driving, he found her.

"This is exactly what we hope for from our community members and that is the partnership we hope to create. That is what it is all about. Teamwork," said North Port Police Chief Kevin Vespia.

Chief Vespia calls Rod English a hero. Rod calls himself an average guy.

"Heroes are police officers, fireman, people who are in the service; Afghanistan. People who put their lives on the line," he said.

However, Patti Snider disagreed.

"For a complete stranger to see a Facebook post and take it upon himself to go search for somebody else's mother. The words don't explain it. It was amazing," she said. 

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