Missing Va. Alzheimer's Patient Found

August 5, 2010

A Virginia Beach woman with Alzheimer's beat the odds by surviving for six days in severe heat after she disappeared from her home.

Seventy-nine-year-old Mary Eileen Butts went missing on July 25. Temperatures that day hit a record 105 degrees.

A mechanic at a car dealership a mile and a half away from Butts' home found the woman in a ditch next to the business on July 31. She suffered cuts, sunburn, bug bites and dehydration and remains hospitalized.

Mark Eggerman with the Department of Emergency Management Search and Rescue Team says that most of the time, the fatality rate is about 70 percent three days after an Alzheimer's patient goes missing.

Butt's husband, Thomas, says his wife spent time outdoors years ago and had natural survival instincts.


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