Family pleads for help finding missing elderly woman - WNEM TV 5

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Family pleads for help finding missing elderly woman with Alzheimer's

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Hellen E. Cook was last seen about noon Saturday near Walnut Grove and Hensley Road in Benton County. Hellen E. Cook was last seen about noon Saturday near Walnut Grove and Hensley Road in Benton County.
WARSAW, MO (KCTV) -

Authorities are asking for help finding a missing 72-year-old woman suffering from Alzheimer's.

Hellen E. Cook was last seen about 11:30 a.m. Saturday near Walnut Grove and Hensley Road in Benton County.

"I'm asking you: Please don't judge. If you talk to her and she's obviously disoriented, please call police. That could be my mother or someone else's mother," her daughter, Terri Cook, pleaded.

Teams on horseback combed through heavy brush near Truman Lake, but still no sign of the missing woman. Officers in boats have searched Truman Lake and helicopters have taken to the air.

The Benton County Sheriff's Office said Hellen Cook and her husband, Howard, were visiting their lake property, located southwest of Warsaw in a rural area close to Truman Lake.

Deputies said she walked away from her home about 11:30 a.m. Saturday while her husband was doing yard work.

Her husband said he had been mowing for about 45 minutes before noticing his wife was no longer sitting on the porch swing where she had been.

"This thing of her walking off is fairly new," Howard Cook said. "This is the third time she's done it but all have been within the last two or three weeks."

Hellen Cook is described as 5' tall and 97 pounds with hazel eyes and short brown or auburn hair. She was last seen wearing blue jean shorts, a white T-shirt and tennis shoes. She was also carrying an extra pair of boots and a walking stick.

Howard Cook, along with nearby neighbors, attempted to locate her on their own, but were unsuccessful. He finally contacted the Benton County Sheriff's Office about 3:30 p.m. Saturday  to ask for assistance in locating his missing wife.

He believes she may have been attempting to get back to their primary residence in Buckner and may have been trying to stay near roads.

Search dogs tracked her scent to Highway 7 in Warsaw. Authorities believe she may have gotten into a vehicle, which is why the scent trail ended.

The missing woman has been without her medication for several days, which family members believe will lead to her being even more confused and disoriented.

Authorities said she will likely not recognize her name, nor will she be able to speak in complete sentences.

Her family is desperately worried, knowing that she is confused and disoriented. She may have been without food, water and shelter this entire time. She is physically fit and walks up to seven miles daily.

When she wandered away previously, she was found in Blue Springs.The couple once lived in Blue Springs, and still attend church there and run errands there.

The family has begged the Jackson County Sheriff's Office to join the search, but so far the office has declined because they have no specific information that she is in Jackson County.The family has offered to get 200 volunteers together for a search.

"Until we get a confirmed sighting, we can't get one (search) going so we need desperately a lead on where she is," Terri Cook said.

She has been frantically calling homeless shelters, hospitals, police departments and other entities across Missouri, but thus far hasn't turned up any clues on her mother's whereabouts.

Howard Cook is worried sick.

"I can just envision when night comes that she is saying to herself, 'Where's Howard? Why doesn't he come get me?' In her mind, she thinks I know where she is," he said.

Anyone with information is asked to call Benton County authorities at 660-438-9555.

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