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Missing 74-year-old Lynchburg woman with Alzheimer’s found safe

Beatrice Spence was missing for nearly 18 hours

Search for missing elderly woman continues in Lynchburg
Search for missing elderly woman continues in Lynchburg

LYNCHBURG, Va.UPDATE

The Lynchburg Police Department said 74-year-old Beatrice Spencer has been found safe.

After missing for nearly 18 hours, Spence was found near the intersection of Hollins and Polk Streets at about 5:45 p.m. Monday.

Police said she was transported to the Lynchburg General Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.


ORIGINAL STORY

It’s all hands on deck in the search for an elderly woman missing from Lynchburg.

State and local police, as well as the community, are looking on the ground and in the sky for 74-year-old Beatrice Spencer, who we’re told has dementia.

She was last seen late last night in the downtown area wearing a blue and white long sleeve shirt, three tank tops, one tennis shoe and one slipper.

“She said she was going upstairs to bed,” son Robert Spencer says. “A couple hours later, her sister went up to bed too and she was gone.”

Robert says they have been keeping a close eye on his mom, but that she’s never gone off like this.

“I walked the streets all night last night until 8 this morning. There was still no sign of her,” he says.

The Spencer family aren’t the only ones with boots on the ground downtown Monday.

“She is a really sweet lady, talked to everybody,” neighbor Tim Santiago says. “One that you might not remember her name, but you always remembered her face.”

Many like Santiago picked up a flyer and hit the road. Born and raised in Lynchburg, Spencer is well-known in the community. She ran a daycare in town for nearly two decades, she’s a member of the Fifth Street Baptist Church and she was a greeter at Sam’s Club.

“When it popped up from a guy that I know from the pizza shop, that his grandmother was missing, I just packed up and left,” Santiago says.

Because of Spencer’s condition, Lynchburg Police have also called in Virginia State Police.

“It’s not uncommon for us to have runaway juveniles and things like that,” LPD’s Carrie Dungan says. “For us to have elderly adults with Alzheimer’s, luckily, we don’t see that too often. With the heat of the day today, it’s increasingly important that we find her.”

Several officers are patrolling the city. They have a K9 unit, drones in the sky and have issued a state-wide alert.

“Always call 911 first, so our officers can be on the way,” Dungan says. “If you do see her, maybe get out with her of follow her so we can keep eyes on her to locate her safely.”

Anyone with information about where she may be is asked to call 911 or 434-847-1602.


About the Authors:

Jeff Williamson arrived at WSLS 10 in March 2016.

Kortney joined the 10 News team as a Lynchburg Bureau Reporter in May 2021.