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Community Holds Prayer Vigil For Elderly Westchester Woman Missing For A Week

$5,000 Reward Offered For The Safe Return Of Betty Iannarelli
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Betty Iannarelli (credit: Handout)

Betty Iannarelli (credit: Handout)

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IRVINGTON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Fear and desperation has grasped a small town in Westchester County after an elderly Alzheimer’s patient wandered away from home a week ago, and still hasn’t been found.

On Thursday night, her community came together to pray for her return. There was a big turnout for the elderly woman with diminished capacity, who seems to have simply vanished.

“Please hear my prayer dear heavenly Father, I need my mother,” the missing woman’s daughter, Debra Ianarrelli, prayed.

Neighbors from the Village of Irvington are still hoping for the safe return of 84-year-old Betty Iannarelli.

“You watch that without a trace, like poof, vanished you know?” Debra Ianarrelli said to CBS 2′s Derricke Dennis.

Debra Ianerrelli said her mother was supposed to be in bed last Thursday night, but instead was caught on surveillance video at 2 a.m. Friday, wandering the streets of Irvington. Ironically, one image of the 5-foot-4, 140-pound woman was captured near the police station.

“Where she went to us a mystery, and that’s what’s making it mind-boggling. Seven days, a person with Alzheimer’s usually is discovered very quickly,” Irvington Police Chief Michael Cerone said.

“She was trying to find her way back to us, and that picture. I can’t even bear to watch that video,” Debra Ianerrelli said.

“She has no financial means with her, she doesn’t drive, she’s afoot, wearing flip flops. How far can you go?” Cerone said.

Everyone in the community is asking that very question. Adding to the worry is the elderly woman’s Alzheimer’s disease, said to be so advanced, according to her family, that she can’t remember their names, but somehow, she will answer to her own name, Betty.

“It’s very sad, very sad, so we just keep praying she’ll be found, with all the prayers it’s gonna work,” said Jane Byrne, an Irvington resident. “God bless her.”

In addition to the prayers at the vigil, the community was asked to check their backyards and keep their eyes open for Betty Iannarelli. The family is offering a $5,000 reward for her safe return.

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