Elderly Pennsylvania man leaves for store, ends up lost in Alabama

Updated: Dec. 22, 2016 at 10:35 PM CST
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HALEYVILLE, AL (WAFF) - What started as a routine trip to the store turned into a 900-mile trek for an elderly man in Pennsylvania.

Family members were worried when 89-year-old Joseph Tarbutton of the Upper Chichester Township didn't return from the neighborhood store over the weekend.

A spokesman with the Upper Chichester Township Police Department said they aren't sure what happened, but Tarbutton apparently drove to Haleyville, Alabama. Police said Tarbutton wasn't sure how he got there. But when family members reported him missing, they said he suffers from mental issues.

Tarbutton got help from local officers on Monday morning. They confirmed his identity and discovered he was a missing person.

The Pennsylvania officer didn't know details of the trip. He said it was his understanding that Tarbutton was making arrangements with his family to return home.

The Associated Press reports that he was treated for for high blood pressure and dehydration.

Police don't believe Tarbutton has been formally diagnosed with dementia. His daughter reportedly said his wandering off was likely because of old age and forgetfulness.

"We never, never, never expected to hear the news that he was in Alabama," his daughter, Cindy Gatta, told the AP. "It's just been amazing that it all turned out so well."

She reportedly called her father's recovery a "Christmas miracle."

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