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Police find missing 84-year-old with dementia after 21-hour search

Extensive search took place in Anne Arundel County
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Posted at 2:16 PM, Jul 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-26 17:47:24-04

After searching for almost a day, Anne Arundel County Police have found an 84-year-old man who had been missing since Monday evening. 

Family members of William Merelman, who suffers from dementia, said he left his house in the 300 block of North Drive at around 5:30 p.m.

When he didn't come home, his wife called police.

"She said that her husband has dementia... walked out of the house,” said Lt. Ryan Frashure of the Anne Arundel County Police Department.

The search began near Merelman's home at the Hamilton Harbour Marina -- one of his favorite places to walk.

"Like many of the neighbors, he'll walk in. He waves. We say, 'Hi!  How's it going?' Basically, I know him by sight," said Terry Guildener.

Guildener may not know Merelman, personally, but she knows what his wife must have been going through with an 84-year old man missing in the midst of triple-digit temperatures.

"It's heartbreaking. I'm being very emotional. I'm sorry, but it is... Someone who's had some losses in my life recently, it's really very difficult, and this community has been awesome,” said Guildener, “There were a hundred people out on this circle last night searching -- kids with flashlights, bikes, everything, and that went on for about four hours.  Nobody was giving up no matter how hot it was."

And that commitment continued on Tuesday at Lake Waterford Park with police choppers overhead, volunteer K-9 search and rescue units from as far away as Calvert County on the ground and dozens of law enforcers on land and on the water, all with the same goal.

Merelman was found inside a vehicle not far from his home Tuesday where he was breathing, but unconscious.

Paramedics transported him to a local hospital for treatment.

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