Facebook aids search of elderly man

AN ELDERLY man who went wandering from a North Bendigo aged care home on Saturday night was found within an hour after social media spread the word of his disappearance.

Over 10,000 people viewed a post put up on Eyewatch - Bendigo Police Service Area’s Facebook page when Peter Saunders, 77, was reported missing at 9.30pm on Saturday night.

The post included a photo of Mr Saunders and information that he had “significant health concerns”.

Police also notified local hospitals, media and taxis.

Police searched on foot and in cars around the North Bendigo area.

Several residents looked for Mr Saunders in the streets around Prouses Road after seeing the Facebook post.

A North Bendigo family found Mr Saunders at about 10.30pm sleeping at a bus shelter on Fenton Street.

“They had seen the post on Facebook, got into a car and driven around looking for him,” Bendigo police's Sergeant Mick McCrann said.

Mr Saunders was without his walker, which is still missing.

Sergeant McCrann urged anyone who had seen the walker to report it to police.

A post saying Mr Saunders had been found gathered 286 'likes'.

His daughter, Tracey Lane, posted her thanks to all the people who had searched for her father.

"Thanks to all who had a look out for my Dad," she wrote.

"He's a little sore and tired today but otherwise good."

Sergeant McCrann said the incident showed the power of social media.

“We had 10,000 sets of eyes looking for this man,” he said.

“We had a lot of interaction on the post and people actively looking for him and within an hour he was found.”

Sergeant McCrann encouraged the public to like the page, which currently has about 5500 followers.

“The more people who like the page, the better, because when we have incidents like this, the community can help us out,” he said.

It's not the first time Bendigo residents have banded together to find a missing elderly man this year.

Bendigo Domain Village retirement complex residents joined SES and police crews using search and rescue dogs and a heat-seeking helicopter to look for 87-year-old Alan Hodge in June.

He was found 17 hours later about eight kilometres from his home and had braved temperatures as low as four degrees. 

Sergeant Mick McCrann

Sergeant Mick McCrann


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