Leroy Stewart's family takes extra steps to keep father safe

(Source: MGN Online)
(Source: MGN Online)

CALCASIEU PARISH, LA (KPLC) - The Fontenot family suffered quite an ordeal two weeks ago when their father disappeared from a doctor's appointment.

Leroy Stewart has Alzheimer's. Not knowing where he is can make the disease all the more stressful.

Stewart's family is happy that he's now safe.

"I'm excited," said Stewart's daughter, Debra Fontenot. "I'm really glad and I'm blessed that we found him, because it was a bad situation and it turned out good.

Fontenot looked for her father for two days before police found him on Kirkman Street.

When someone goes missing like Stewart, Lake Charles Police activate an alert system.

They tell the local media and 911 dispatchers immediately. They also notify nearby residents of the neighborhood surrounding the missing person's last known location.

"They did a house to house search and they continued to look for them until they found him," said Fontenot.

Even though Fontenot said police went above and beyond their duties to find her father, she said she's taking extra steps to keep it from happening again.

"I'm planning on getting a bracelet with his name, number and stuff like that so he can keep it on him," said Fontenot. "If anyone finds him or he gets lost again, someone can contact us."

Alert systems can vary for people with Alzheimer's. GPS on phones and alarms are both common.

George Cestia owns healthcare provider, Home Instead, in Lake Charles. He said preventing a loved one from getting lost is also possible with help.

"For safety obviously having a caregiver in the home who is going to be able to watch that person just like a babysitter might watch children helps," said Cestia. "Then they're not getting into things or getting out of the house and getting disoriented."

For now, Stewart's family will stick with Fontenot's plan, even though there's a lot of options out there.

"I'm making my own alert system," said Fontenot.

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