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MailTribune.com
  • 81-year-old man with dementia goes missing

  • Medford police are looking for an 81-year-old man with dementia who left his home in west Medford Sunday morning and was last seen driving north on Highway 99.
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  • Medford police are looking for an 81-year-old man with dementia who left his home in west Medford Sunday morning and was last seen driving north on Highway 99.
    The missing person, George Watters, has Alzheimer's disease and does not have his medication with him, his family told police.
    Watters and his wife, Lorene, were at their home on the 600 block of Holly Street in Medford on Sunday morning. Lorene Watters told police she saw her husband at 7:30 a.m. When she went to check on him about a half an hour later, he was gone, as was the couple's car, a dark blue, four-door Buick LeSabre displaying Oregon license WRV 538.
    Watters was last seen around 11 a.m. Sunday by Zach Smith, a salesman at Skinner Autoplex on Highway 99 near the south Medford interchange.
    Smith said Watters was looking for directions to a "church academy" in Medford.
    "(Watters) said he wanted to get on the highway and head east to Medford," Smith said. "I said, 'Sir, the highway only runs north and south.'"‰"
    Watters then "jumped back into his car" and drove two or three times around a tent in the car lot before heading north on Highway 99, Smith said, adding that Watters did not appear stressed or panicked.
    Smith was in the office around 1:30 p.m. when the phone rang. It was an automated alert from police describing Watters and his car.
    Smith said he recognized the car and the description and notified police immediately. He said he also let police know Watters was wearing a blue sweater and not a red one as the message had indicated.
    "He was seen at 11 a.m. so he's still in the area," said Detective Sgt. Brent Mak with Medford police.
    "We have sent out teletypes and flyers to all surrounding agencies up and down I-5," Mak said.
    Lorene Watters informed police that her husband has not driven a car in more than year and has a history of getting lost. She said he does not have a driver's license.
    Before Sunday, only about a half dozen people knew he had Alzheimer's, she said.
    Watters has brown or hazel eyes, brown hair, weighs about 170 pounds and is 5 feet, 9 inches tall, according to a press release distributed by Medford police.
    Anyone with information on Watters' whereabouts is asked to call Medford police at 541-770-4785.
    Reach reporter Teresa Thomas at 541-776-4497 or tthomas@mailtribune.com. Follow her at www.twitter.com/teresathomas_mt.
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