'Silver Alert' signed into law - Tucson News Now

'Silver Alert' signed into law

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

The death of a Cochise County woman has lead to changes in the law.

Silver Alert was signed by the governor to help find lost seniors, much like Amber Alert searches for children.

"At least we have a system that we know is capable of working. And the people behind it and supporting it, makers, our governor, and law enforcement, it brings law enforcement together and helps us communicate. That brings our citizens together and our community together if we're looking for someone who's lost," said Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels.

Mary Black drove from her home in Saint David to her death in the desert last November. The breakdown in communication along the way showed the need for Silver Alert.

Black, in her 80s, had not driven in years. Her family said she suffered from Alzheimer's, but while the daughter who took care of her was on a walk, Black took the keys to the SUV and drove away in November. Not until hours later did the Cochise County deputy send out word that Black was missing, and when a driver on Sunland Gin Road reported Black's SUV driving erratically, the dispatcher did not match it with Black.

Black's car was found a week later and she was found the following weekend.

Silver Alert for those 65 and older uses the same statewide network as Amber Alerts to notify both law enforcement and the public of a missing senior.

"I'm grateful. I'm grateful, I am, because this might make a difference for someone else. Had that been in effect, somebody along the way between here and Casa Grande would have seen Mom," said daughter Mary Ann Black.

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