Woman with Alzheimer's Found Safe 'In Great Spirits' Picking Flowers in the Woods


Every once in a while, we hear stories about kids who go missing or get lost in the woods. Few things bring a community together like a helpless child needing to be found.

But it happens on the opposite end of the spectrum as well. Elderly citizens can wander off just as easily, especially if they have conditions that predispose them to be a little absent-minded.

Leoni Unzicker has Alzheimer’s. At 75 years old, she’s not as strong as she once was, and a walk alone can become a dangerous affair.

On July 4, she disappeared. She was somewhere in Shelby County, Kentucky, but no one knew exactly where.

Her husband Gerry — who calls her Lee — had checked on her briefly before she disappeared.

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“I checked on her around 1 p.m. and she was taking a nap,” he said, “and when I checked on her about 2:45 p.m. she was gone.”

“She is the nicest person you will want to meet, but she is fragile,” the concerned husband said. “Her mind is not good and I just hope we find her.”

Two days passed, and still no sign of Leoni. Her family wanted nothing more than to bring her home again, but searchers could not find her.

On the morning of July 6, Joyce Rueff was out for a nice trail ride with her horse, Ollie. She decided to take a slightly different route than normal.

As they went along, admiring the green countryside, Rueff noticed a person on a nearby hill. It was an older woman.

She was dehydrated and had scratches all over her, but she seemed content picking clover and was in otherwise good spirits.

“Once I saw her, and I realized this is who they’ve been looking for, I tied up my horse to a post and went over,” Rueff said.

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“She was calm, and she was in good spirits,” she continued. “And she started talking about her husband, she told me his name, and she talked about her garden.”

She was completely unaware that anyone had been looking for her. Det. Mark Moore, who was on the scene, said authorities have no idea how she got to that pasture or where she’d been in the meantime.

“When I saw her I said, ‘Mrs. Unzicker, you have really caused quite a stir,’ and she said ‘Oh you shouldn’t do all this for me,'” Moore said.

Thankfully Rueff was in the right place at the right time. Lee was unharmed and is back safe and sound with her family.

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