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Missing Man Highlights Sheriff's SOS Program - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Missing Man Highlights Sheriff's SOS Program

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SHREVEPORT, La. -

The search continues for missing Shreveport resident Elbert Knox, 51.

Shreveport Police tried unsuccessfully to locate Knox Tuesday morning using cadaver dogs. The search did not turn up any leads.

Knox's family treats that as good news, since it means there is hope Knox will be found alive. They say they have cried enough in the days since Knox went missing, and now they are praying for his return.

"It's been rough," says Knox's younger sister Elaine Smith. "I've cried everyday until I have a headache. This is a moment that I'm not crying, and I hope I don't."

Shreveport Police say they do their best to investigate missing persons cases involving senior citizens, but often their best method is prevention.

"Sometimes you're going to have people who wander off," says SPD Cpl. Marcus Hines. "It's very important that the people in that neighborhood are aware that the person may have conditions that cause this type of behavior."

SPD recommends giving your phone number to people you trust in the neighborhood.

According to the Alzheimer's Association, 94 percent of people who wander are found within a mile and a half of where they disappeared.

Caddo Sheriff Steve Prator started the Sheriff's Operation Safeguard program in 2004. SOS gives small metal bracelets to anyone prone to wandering- from seniors with Alzheimer's to autistic children.

Participants share confidential health and identity information and, in return, are given a small, metal bracelet with a toll-free 800 number that is answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

"That information is immediately forwarded to the family member or caregiver," says CPSO Capt. William Douglas. "Usually it's in a matter of minutes."

Investigators used one of these bracelets to identify the body of 87-year-old Foster Anderson- the man hit by a train while walking over the Red River in February.

When cases like Knox and Anderson's hit the airwaves, SOS organizers see the number of participants increase- from a handful of applications in slow months to dozens in a few days.

The Sheriff's Office says the bracelets are used most often to return a family member to their loved ones.

"It's one of those times when you really feel good about being able to help someone," Douglas says.

Knox's family says he does not have a SOS bracelet, but they will sign him up for one if he does return home.

Knox was last seen walking down Kemp Lane in Shreveport's Martin Luther King, Jr. neighborhood.

Knox is 5'7", weighs 200lbs and has a scar over his left eye.

Applications for SOS Program can be picked up at:

  • Caddo Sheriff's Community Programs office at 1000 Grimmett Drive
  • Caddo Council on Aging at 4015 Greenwood Road
  • Any of the CPSO substations:
    • 11411 Highway 1 North, Oil City
    • 4910 North Market, Shreveport
    • 3268 Stagecoach Road, Keithville

Questions about the SOS Program can be directed to the Community Programs Section at (318) 681-0875.

More information on care for seniors with memory loss can be found at the Alzheimer's Association website.


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