Change Silver Alert Criteria for State Of Washington
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Dear Sherry Appleton,
I would like to discuss with you a matter that is weighing heavily upon my family at the moment. My father, Roger Morton, disappeared from his home on February 26, 2018. He was not found until a Silver Alert was placed on him and this was not done until he was missing for 4 days. The Thurston County Sheriffs office informed my sister, Melissa Edwards, that they could not put a Silver Alert on him because he wasn’t diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s.I just returned home from Olympia, Washington where I laid my loving Father to rest. His body was found 4-6 hours after he was put on the Silver Alert, but sadly it was too late for him. He died of hypothermia. There are just no words to express my families grief and guilt over this whole situation. It just should not have happened. He was finally put on the Silver Alert system after my sister pressed the issue and informed them that he was diagnosed with PTSD and was on medication for such. If he had been put into the Silver Alert system the day he went missing he would still be with us today. *
For this reason, my family would like to petition lawmakers to change the criteria for the Silver Alert system. There are many, many situations where an individual over the age of 65 should be put into the Silver Alert system, not just the two that are used now.
My father walked with a cane, because he was prone to falls. He had many medications he took on a daily basis that could make him disoriented, etc if suddenly having to go without them. Most seniors are more susceptible to weather conditions than younger adults and more likely to forget things such as coats and cell phones. Seniors do not even realize the danger they may be putting themselves in just going for a simple ride through the beautiful mountainside before a scheduled doctors appointment.There are many reasons that someone over the age of 65 should be searched for more vigorously than a younger adult and I’ve only named some that were involved in this particular case. A child is placed into the Amber Alert system immediately upon being reported missing. They do not have to have any particular disorders, etc. Like a child many seniors do not recognize danger to themselves and many are pretty helpless to things like weather or anything that would require body strength.I believe it is way too common for senior citizens to drive off and never return home. This sort of thing should not happen in this day and age. If we have the resources to hunt for innocents the way we do children, then aren’t we doing seniors a disservice by not doing all in our power to give them the same treatment.
I believe the Silver Alert system is a great start, but only by questioning family members adequately and adding addition criteria, will it truly help all that are in need. My father should not be gone from my life yet and this I will have to suffer through, but if my family and I can keep this from happening to anyone else it would go a long way to lightening our heavy hearts.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
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