Family of missing woman, 72, concerned about safety

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Helen Cook

Helen Cook

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BUCKER, Mo. -- The family of a missing elderly woman are increasingly concerned about her safety, but still hopeful that with the public's help, she can be returned home. Hellen Cook has Alzheimer's and wandered away from their property near Truman Lake, in Warsaw. But her family thinks she may be trying to get home to Buckner.

Hellen and Howard Cook have lived in Buckner for years and are known as avid walkers, often walking between 4 to 7 miles a day. So the Cook family thinks 72-year-old Hellen got confused about where she was on Saturday morning and may be trying to walk the 115 mile journey back home.

Howard says he and his wife were doing yard work Saturday morning, so he didn't notice right away that she was gone.

“I figured she was in the barn next door cleaning,” he said, “she loves to clean and pull weeds.”

He found her jacket folded neatly on a tall gate that she had to climb over in order to leave. He started driving around looking for her.

“Neighbors along the road said ‘yeah I saw her, she had a big stick in her hand and was carrying a pair of boots,” Howard said.

Hellen and Howard’s daughter, Terri, says the police were called and brought in search and rescue dogs.

“They tracked her a couple of miles to highway 7 in Warsaw where the trail ended, so we think someone has picked her up,” she said.

That’s the scary part to the Cook family: who picked her up?

“It’s very scary at this point, we’re hopeful they picked her up, they took her to a place where she wanted to go, they dropped her off and now she’s lost,” said Terri.

“If the right person picked her up then that person won’t take any time to see the condition Hellen is in and he or she will call police,” Howard said, “the other kind of person we know about. And since there has been no call, the assumption is not good.”

What they do know is she’s now on three days with no medication and no leads from the public.

“She probably doesn't know her name any longer, it’s been a couple of days she probably doesn't look fresh and clean,” Terri said, “so if someone sees a small stature woman 100 pounds and she looks confused might not be able to speak clearly, if they cold call police as soon as possible, so we can get our mother home.”

The Cooks say they don’t know if she was trying to make her way home to Buckner or if her Alzheimer's has regressed, she could be headed to her childhood home neat St Louis.

Hellen is barely five feet tall, and 100 pounds. She was last seen wearing jean shorts and a light-colored top.

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