Veteran helping veteran finds eldery man missing for 4 days

Jul 27, 2017

Town of Tonawanda Police say a 79-year-old veteran used his military skills to stay alive while stranded in the woods for four days.

Harold Roberts, 79, had been missing since July 23.
Credit Silver Alert

Former Air Force pilot Harold Roberts had been the subject of a Silver Alert.  He was last known to be at a residence near Parker Blvd in the Town of Tonawanda.

Town of Tonawanda Police reported Thursday that one of their detectives - Darren Hearitt, himself a Marine Corps veteran - found Roberts "in good spirits" in a brush-filled wooded area of the town.

"Basically, we were running out of viable information from the community about where Mr. Roberts could possibly be," Hearitt told WBFO. "We were running through the hourglass. Time was passing by. And a person of Mr. Roberts age and reported condition, which was cognitive issues that were reported to us, the amount of time going by was very disconcerting. It was of utmost urgency to try to find him."

Hearitt said Roberts was found lying on his back, but in good spirits. He apparently had walked off the wooded bike trail, behind Heath Terrace near Englewood Avenue, and at some point fell and was unable to get up or call for help.

Police believe Roberts had been there the entire time he was missing and was in danger of suffering from exposure or dehydration. Once found, he was taken to a local hospital for evaluation.