MATTOON -- A Bloomington woman with dementia who had been reported missing on Monday, Christmas Day, was found in Mattoon and then returned to her home on Wednesday.
Chief Jason Taylor of the Mattoon Police Department said the woman, 53-year-old Carmon D. Edwards, was reported missing by her family at 11 a.m. Monday. He said the subsequent investigation determined that Edwards, who accidentally left her cellphone at home, drove south and briefly stopped Monday afternoon at a Champaign service station, where she prepaid for gasoline but did not pump the fuel into her tank.
Taylor said Edwards then drove for unknown reasons to Mattoon, where she has no ties, and she ran out of gasoline near the intersection of Richmond Avenue and 21st Street. He said Mattoon police officers found Edwards' unoccupied vehicle there at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday. He said police officers and firefighters subsequently conducted a grid search of Mattoon for Edwards, including looking along ditches and railroad tracks.
"There were an awful lot of people involved in trying to find her and we were thinking the worst," Taylor said. He noted that an Illinois State Police airplane assisted with the search.
The police chief said the subsequent investigation determined that Samuel Ford, 74, of rural Mattoon had found Edwards wandering Tuesday morning in the parking lot of Dollar General, 2001 Lake Land Boulevard. He said Ford did not realize that Edwards was a missing person. He said Ford bought breakfast for Edwards at 9:15 a.m. that day at Hardee's, 1117 Lake Land Boulevard, and then took her to shelter at his home.
Ford reportedly learned that Edwards was a mission person when he saw a television news report Wednesday morning about state police searching for her, Taylor said. Ford then took Edwards to state police District 10 headquarters in Pesotum at approximately 12:50 p.m. Wednesday, he said. Edwards has since been returned healthy and unharmed to her family, Taylor said.