BELLEVILLE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – An 85-year-old woman went missing from her home in Belleville, New Jersey.
Police and family members searched for hours, but it was a four-legged friend who’s being credited with bringing her home safe.
Loreta Dabajo went missing from her son’s home where she lives Wednesday morning on Smallwood Avenue.
“Then when I go over to her bedroom she was not there,” Christopher Dabajo said.
The 85-year-old’s son says he went to wake her up around 9 a.m.
After the family looked around for a while, they called police about an hour later. Neighbors say they saw officers searching the neighborhood.
“They spent a lot of time walking back and forth,” one neighbor said.
“The dog was going to different backyards.”
It took several hours to find her. She was a few houses away in this wooded area.
After sniffing Loreta’s pillows, a K-9 with the Essex County Sheriff’s Department followed the scent and found Loreta around 2:30 p.m.
“Oh I almost cried when I saw my mom lying there,” Dabajo said.
“It was scary when I saw my mom lying there in the leaves in the woods so scared.”
He says his mother couldn’t remember anything about what happened.
Though he says she’s suffered from memory problems for a couple of years now, nothing like this has ever happened. The 85-year-old has back problems and a hard time walking.
Now she has a large cut on her hand but is otherwise unharmed and recovering in an area hospital where CBS2 ran into an officer who had been part of the search.
“I looked all day for your mother all day I looked… very good, very good, very happy for you,” the officer told Christopher Dabajo.
The family is especially grateful to one member of law enforcement in particular.
“That dog is like a hero for us,” Dabajo added.