OCONTO COUNTY - Family members of the Oconto County couple who was missing for a day say Leo and Claire Baeb are now back in the area and with family. The couple's son-in-law, Steven Smith, told FOX 11 they arrived back in the Green Bay area early this morning.
Leo, 92, and Claire Baeb, 80, left their Townsend home Tuesday afternoon to go to Green Bay. They never arrived. Instead, they were found last night in West Bend, which is between Fond du Lac and Milwaukee.
Smith credits the West Bend police for locating the couple. He says officers found their van outside a Starbucks last night, and that Claire Baeb was standing outside the vehicle.
Smith says the couple is doing well, but they are very tired and confused.
"It was fantastic, answered a prayer of course," explained son-in-law Steven Smith. "We're going to give them a day or so and then sit down as a family and try to figure out what they remember and how to adjust to what happened."
Ultimately, Smith believes it was a combination of fatigue, lack of daily medication and disorientation which contributed to the situation. He says it will be a learning experience for the family.
Some states, like Florida, have what's called a Silver Alert Program. That specifically target cases where older, cognitively impaired individuals are missing.
Wisconsin doesn't have that specific alert program, but it does have something similar.
"We're one of only a handful of states in the nation that have a statewide crime alert system and it really gives us the flexibility to search out a variety of different types of cases," explained Coordinator Wisconsin Crime Alert Network Joseph Libowsky.
The system covers a variety of crimes and missing person cases, sending out email, texts or faxes to subscribers. It was implemented in late 2011 and authorities say they've seen success.
"In the year the crime alert system has been around, it's been successfully used in about 34 criminal as well as missing persons cases," Libowsky explained.
Officials say it is a work in progress. Currently, more than 4,000 law enforcement officers, individuals and businesses are signed up, but they hope to see the numbers grow.
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