Harrisburg man found safe in Mississippi

Eldridge Gene Stirling (Source: Arkansas State Police)
Eldridge Gene Stirling (Source: Arkansas State Police)

HARRISBURG, AR (KAIT) - Harrisburg resident Eldridge Gene Stirling has been found safe, according to the Harrisburg Police Department.

According to Harrisburg Police Chief Gary Hefner, police found Stirling, 84, safe at a convenience store in Corinth, Mississippi Thursday afternoon. He was not injured.

Corinth is about two and half hours away from Harrisburg.

According to Arkansas State Police, Stirling went missing from Harrisburg around 10:30 Wednesday morning.

State police then issued a Silver Alert for him Wednesday night.

"He's just a really nice guy and he's just a little confused right now," Hefner said.

Hefner attributes this confusion to Stirling's battle with Alzheimer's disease.

"We've had the same thing happen approximately four months ago. He got confused and got lost on his way home," Hefner said.

But Hefner said they found him sooner that time.

"He had a cell phone with him that we used. We called the phone company. They used the GPS on him to find his location."

But this time, Hefner said Stirling left the phone at home.

"We didn't have the luxury to have that to use."

Thankfully police spotted him in Mississippi. But Hefner said Stirling needs more than a cell phone at all times.

"Families have a hard time taking somebody's driving privileges away. I mean, that would be a hard thing to do, but there comes a point when it has to be done. Because not only do they get lost, but they could also be a danger in their driving or could cause an accident."

Hefner said this is very hard for Stirling's family, but other families in Region 8 can learn from this.

"I know that's hard when families work, but, you know, that would be my only suggestion is just to have somebody staying with him or overseeing them."

Hefner said as a personal friend of Sterling's, he is very relieved police found him.

If you think it may be time for you to hang up your keys or for a family member to do so, learn more about senior driving on AAA's website.

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