TYLER, Texas — The thought of your loved one going missing is something no one ever wants to face.
Unfortunately, it's a reality Tyler resident Claudia Blanton found herself in when her husband, Ernest Blanton, with missing on Sunday, June 4.
"I was really just shaken up because he sometimes wanders but has never gone missing," Claudia said. "All my mind was saying, 'please find him, we got to find him, we had to find him.'"
After Ernest disappeared, police were able to find him quickly thanks to the Project Lifesaver bracelet he wears on his wrist.
"Without his Lifesaver, he would have been lost and I mean totally lost," Claudia said.
The Project Lifesaver bracelet is a life-saving device that can help find someone with cognitive impairments when they go missing.
Rebecca Smith with the Alzheimer's Alliance of Smith County says more families could benefit from its Project Lifesaver program.
"Seventy percent of people with dementia are estimated to wander off at some point during their diagnoses," Smith said. "We partnered with Project Lifesaver with the Tyler Police Department and the Smith County Sheriff's Office to offer this program to Smith County residents."
Because Ernest wore the Lifesaver bracelet on his wrist, police found him near the woods off Shiloh Rd.
"It was less than an hour, and without that Project Lifesaver receiver, it would have been much more difficult, if not impossible, to find him that fast," said Andy Erbaugh, spokesperson for the Tyler Police Department.
Even though Ernest doesn't recall the events on Sunday, one thing he does know is that he is surrounded by his loving family.
"We took our vows, till death do us part, that's where it's going to be, I love Ernest Blanton; he's my everything, besides God, he's my everything," Claudia said.
To learn more about the Project Lifesaver, click here.