Elderly ELO man found after search

LaCROFT – A 79-year-old 7th Avenue man who wandered from his home late Sunday afternoon was found after about an hour-long search by emergency personnel and private citizens.

Charles Gatrell was reported missing by his wife after he had been gone from his home about 30 minutes, according to Sgt. Kevin Hughes of the Liverpool Township Police Department.

Hughes called the township fire department to assist with the search, and as the evening approached, it was decided to call for assistance, with St. Clair and East Liverpool police and fire as well as Glenmoor and Calcutta fire departments responding.

Private citizens also joined the search, according to Hughes, who said the concern was growing that the missing man would not be found before dark when two residents, Mel Balser and Rick Prescott both noticed the searchers and said they had noticed a man walking between two houses on Lisbon Street.

“They wondered why but didn’t think too much about it until they saw all the emergency personnel out looking around,” Hughes said.

It was this tip that led the search party to the area commonly known as Junkyard Bend, into some woods, where Gatrell was found sitting but somewhat confused, Hughes reported, saying he also complained of some hip pain.

Gatrell was placed on a backboard and brought from the woods via a four-wheeler, and was transported by ambulance to the hospital.

“Fortunately, we found him before the sun went down. It was a good effort by everyone, not just emergency personnel but citizens as well,” Hughes noted.