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10/10/2018 - Sheriff’s Office Uses ‘Project Lifesaver’ to Locate Missing Resident

Sheriff’s Office Uses ‘Project Lifesaver’ to Locate Missing Resident

Somerset County Sheriff Frank J. Provenzano has announced the successful recovery of a missing and endangered Franklin Township resident, a client of the Sheriff's Office's "Project Lifesaver" program, who suffers from dementia and had walked away from his residence in the early morning hours of Aug. 27.

After the Sheriff's Office received the emergency call from the client's family member, the office’s Project Lifesaver Task Force quickly assembled and responded to the area of the Canal Walk residential community to search for the disabled and elderly client.

After arriving on scene, the Sheriff's Officers were advised by the client's family that their loved one may have been missing for a few hours. After obtaining a few more facts and details, under the command of Sheriff's Office Capt. Mark Szczecina, task force members began their search using specialized Project Lifesaver locating equipment.

As the officers deployed and spread out across the neighborhood, they were able to detect the missing client's unique tracking signal. The officers, who are certified and trained in Project Lifesaver emergency search and rescue, began implementing their specialized skill sets and homed in on the client's location.

In under an hour – working in darkness and extreme humidity, through thick woods and brush, through farmland and various housing and office building complexes – Sheriff’s Officers ultimately located the client about two miles from his home behind an office building, disoriented and injured. The officers immediately rendered first aid and treated the client's various minor injuries, then brought the man back home and reunited him with his loved ones.

“This is a fine example of the value of the Project Lifesaver Program,” said Sheriff Provenzano. “It is an outstanding resource for families in Somerset County to utilize for at-risk adults and juveniles. Our Project Lifesaver team of officers are trained and dedicated to providing the best service to our citizens 365 days a year. ‘Bringing Loved Ones Home’ is our credo.”

"Project Lifesaver provides extra support to caregivers and families in order to keep their loved ones safe in the community,” said Somerset County Office on Aging and Disability Services Executive Director Joanne Fetzko. “This save is a demonstration of the excellent teamwork provided by the Somerset County Sheriff's Office, Law Enforcement and the Office on Aging and Disability Services."

Nationally, the Project Lifesaver Program has helped provide thousands of families with peace of mind daily, knowing their loved ones have protection and safety in case they put themselves at risk. During the past decade, over 3,300 missing Project Lifesaver clients have been located and reunited with their families. The Sheriff's Office has participated in the program since 2003.

Project Lifesaver is a Somerset County bracelet emergency-locating program for residents who suffer from types of dementia, autism and other disabilities that put them at risk of wandering. The program is a partnership of the Sheriff's Office, the Office on Aging and Disability Services and the Somerset County Board of Chosen Freeholders.

Families interested in the Project Lifesaver program may contact the Office on Aging and Disability Services at 1-888-747-1122 or Sheriff's Officer Nick Fazio at for more information.