FROM STAFF REPORTS

An 78-year-old man who wandered away over the weekend was located by first responders and treated for dehydration.

Late Sunday morning the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office received a call about a suspicious vehicle abandoned off Redemption Road, north of Statesville.

When the deputies arrived at 184 Redemption Road, they located a blue Toyota Prius, which was running with no one around it, Sheriff Darren Campbell said in a news release. The caller met the deputies and told them they saw an elderly man get out of the vehicle, He began acting erratically before turning and walking up a power line trail into a heavily wooded area.

ICSO investigators, K-9 deputies and drone pilots responded to the area to assist in locating the man.

ICSO Sgt. E. Line with his K-9 Wilbur, Deputy N. Hodges with K-9 Levi and K-9 Sadie located a track at the Toyota Prius traveling toward South Chipley Ford Road.

At 3:56 p.m., 4 1/2 hours after the first report came in, ICSO drone pilot and investigator Patrick Irwin located the missing man utilizing the drone near a chicken house at 3524 South Chipley Ford Road.

Iredell County Rescue Squad personnel responded to the area. They treated the man, who is battling dementia, for mild dehydration, Campbell said. After receiving treatment, the man was returned to his family at his residence.

“Incidents like this are exactly why we spend the resources we do on our drone and K-9 programs,” Campbell said. “By training for situations exactly like this, we are able to save precious time in locating missing persons. We also want to thank the Ebenezer Volunteer Fire Department, Iredell County Rescue Squad, EMS and Iredell Search and Rescue for their assistance in this operation.”

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