Missing woman found

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 21, 2007

WOODLAND – Almost 24 hours after a missing person search began, it has come to a happy end, according to Northampton County Sheriff’s Office.

A missing Woodland woman has been found after a search by several law enforcement entities.

According to Northampton County Sheriff Wardie Vincent, Catherine Benton, 71, wandered from her home on Finnley Road around 10:30 a.m. on Thursday. Vincent said Benton may suffer from Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.

Vincent said her absence was not reported to the sheriff’s office until the evening on Thursday.

The Northampton County Sherriff’s Office worked in conjunction with the Department of Corrections K-9 Unit and a North Carolina Highway Patrol helicopter using night vision during the late-night search for Benton.

Vincent said the search on Thursday lasted until midnight, but was started up again on Friday morning this time with ground units using ATVs. The Highway Patrol helicopter returned along with the Johnston County K-9 unit.

Emergency Management and the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office were also involved.

Vincent said Benton was found during that morning search 250 yards away from where she disappeared in “a dense wooded area” that is “not traveled much.”

Benton was dehydrated, but otherwise in good health.

Vincent said the Northampton County Rescue Squad recommended she be taken to the hospital for a check-up.

Vincent commended the work of all the entities involved with the search and the “great support” that was shown.