Police find elderly woman reported missing in Osceola County

ORIENT TWP. — After spending more than 24 hours in the woods, an elderly woman was found safe by police Monday evening in Osceola County’s Orient Township.

Law enforcement was contacted around 1 p.m. by an 87-year-old man who reported his wife was somewhere in the woods in Orient Township and he was unable to find her.

The 85-year-old woman and her husband are both from Florida and have a summer home in the area, said Osceola County Undersheriff Justin Halladay.

“The two had went for a walk in the woods on Sunday and got turned around,” Halladay said. “They were lost and it grew dark, so they spent the night in the woods. In the morning they woke up and she couldn’t go far because of a hurt knee. She stayed behind and he went for help.”

The man made it to a road and was picked up by a driver from the Osceola County Road Commission. The man did not mention his wife and intended to go back himself and pick her up, Halladay said. However, once home he soon realized he didn’t know how to get back to her.

Police called in various resources to search a section of approximately 960 acres. Assisting in the search were an Osceola County Sheriff’s Office K-9 unit, a Michigan State Police K-9 unit, a Michigan State Police helicopter from Lansing and numerous area fire and rescue personnel from local and neighboring agencies.

Halladay said multiple issues hindered the search. Finally, after hours of searching, the woman was found safely around 9 p.m.

“She had no food or water for 24 hours, plus she was in the heat for 24 hours, so there were some minor exposure issues,” Halladay said. “However, overall, she was found to be OK.”

The elderly couple was transported to Spectrum Health Reed City Hospital, where they were treated and released.

Halladay is pleased the rescue resulted in a happy ending, reuniting a husband with his wife.

“When I told the man we had found his wife, he gave me this big hug and collapsed in my arms,” Halladay said. “I’ve been in this line of work for 20 years and this is a top-five moment for me.”