By Jon Gambrell
OXFORD - After three weeks of searches, the whereabouts of a Miami University emeritus professor suffering from Alzheimer's disease remains a mystery.
The disappearance of 81-year-old Charles E. Capel has brought out hundreds of searchers in the Oxford area, to no avail. He is believed to have walked out of his home sometime after going to bed.
Alzheimer's experts say such wandering off often comes with the disease. According to Anne Von Hoene of the Alzheimer's Association of Greater Cincinnati, about 60 percent of all people with the disease will wander and become lost at some point in their illness.
"Wandering is something you can't predict," she said. "They may have had a very sedentary lifestyle. One day, they get it into their mind they need to go to work, after 30 years."
Most wandering Alzheimer's patients are found within a half-mile of their home.
But since Capel's disappearance, Oxford police have thoroughly searched the area near his home. About 450 volunteers covered more than 500 acres in two hours, including the north end of Oxford and ditch lines along several county roads Tuesday night in a final communitywide search.
"It was a pretty exhaustive search," said Oxford Police Sgt. Jim Squance. "If he's out there in the city limits, he's hidden himself well."
Police say they have stopped mass searches, but will continue to follow leads. Meanwhile, police contacted nearby cities and mailed flyers to several cities around the country where Capel used to live, because some people with Alzheimer's disease may "revert" to their earlier lives.
While those with Alzheimer's may be more inclined to wander, there are steps families can take. Most nursing homes now have special wards for those with memory problems.
The Alzheimer's Association offers the "Safe Return" program, where the "memory-impaired" have a metallic identification bracelet, giving a toll-free line for others to call. For more information, call the association at (513) 721-4284.
Daugherty: DUI is a blessing for Huggins
Center focuses on men's health
Old-style camp meeting invites all
TOP LOCAL HEADLINES
Huggins: Won't let it happen again
Cicada buzz dying down
West Nile found in Sycamore Twp.
Trustees want to close crime motel
UC develops brain tumor recovery aid
Searchers don't find man
Ohio justice charged, has court date
New suit challenges drugs used in lethal injection
Court blocks removal of baby's life support
Neighbors: Trains stink up yards
Enquirer wins peer awards
Knife-wielding boy shot with Taser gun
Public safety briefs
Local news digest
Tax amnesty expires Monday
Counties want voters protected
Rechtin credits victor's strategy
Covington man, 44, guilty in abuse case
RONALD WILSON REAGAN: 1911 - 2004
Reagan: America gives final farewell
Photos: Washington and the world
More photos, video, full coverage
Kings losing hall facilities
UC grads urged to help society
School equipment seller fired, accused
Nearing 100, volunteer spreads cheer at hospitals
Hospital designated as trauma center
Alumni group sues former treasurer
West Chester condos promise urban feel
Westwood Home Tour fund-raiser nets $5,870
Oldiesfest returns, Freedom Fest won't
Terry Lautenbach, retired IBM exec