Search in Gadsden Co. continues for missing elderly man with dementia

Published: Oct. 29, 2019 at 4:05 AM EDT
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By: Lanetra Bennett | WCTV Eyewitness News

October 30, 2019

GADSDEN COUNTY, Fla. (WCTV) -- The Gadsden County Sheriffs Office is asking for your help in locating 87-year-old Leroy Banks.

Deputies say Banks left his home in the St. Hebron Community at around 3 p.m. Monday. Family and friends have not heard from him since.

Deputies say he was last seen wearing a gray hoodie, an orange beanie hat and tan pants.

He has gray hair, a slender build and brown eyes. Authorities also say Banks suffers from dementia.

GCSO's Search and Rescue Team is out looking for him, as well as a group of nearly 100 volunteers.

Banks' family says authorities came out immediately after initially getting the call Monday afternoon that he was missing. The family says Banks' sister dropped him off at his home Monday, then one of his brothers later drove by and noticed him outside.

When the nephew who takes care of him came up from the backyard, he discovered Banks was gone, according to the family.

Antonette Pearson, Banks' daughter, says she was devastated when she found out he went missing.

"When I come to this house, he stays right there," she said. "And I go in his room and he's not there, it's painful. He's not here for me to see his face."

On Wednesday, a helicopter, drone, K-9 teams, search and rescue experts and law enforcement officials from various agencies in surrounding areas all helped in the search.

Pearson says she's grateful to see family, friends and community members helping locate her father.

"It makes me happy to know that you got people that care that I didn't know that cared," she says. "But they showed us love, that they love my daddy."

One of Banks' brothers says Banks has some good days and bad days when it comes to his dementia. He says he's known to wander off, but says someone in the community always brought him back home quickly.

Banks' brother, Willie Earl Banks, says he's staying optimistic.

"The dogs didn't get a scent," he says. "I just keep thinking, if the dogs didn't pick him up, then maybe somebody else did. He's out there somewhere. We're hoping that they heed to that Silver Alert that's been sent out and call."

Officials say it's good to look for dementia patients where they grew up. Banks' brother says they've done that, searching an entire area and nearby communities over the past three days.

If you have any information on his whereabouts, you're asked to call GCSO at 850-627-9233.

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