MATTOON — A Bloomington woman suffering from dementia who was reported missing on Monday, Christmas Day, was found in Mattoon and returned to her home Wednesday, police said.
"There were an awful lot of people involved in trying to find her, and we were thinking the worst," Mattoon Police Chief Jason Taylor said.
Taylor said 53-year-old Carmon D. Edwards was reported missing by her family at 11 a.m. Monday.
He said an investigation determined that Edwards, who accidentally left her cellphone at home, drove south and briefly stopped Monday afternoon at a Champaign service station, where she prepaid for gasoline but did not pump the fuel into her tank.
Taylor said Edwards then drove for an unknown reason to Mattoon, where she has no ties, and ran out of gasoline near Richmond Avenue and 21st Street.
He said Mattoon police officers found Edwards' unoccupied vehicle there at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday. He said police officers and firefighters conducted a grid search of Mattoon for Edwards, including looking along ditches and railroad tracks. He said an Illinois State Police airplane assisted as well.
Taylor said a rural Mattoon man found Edwards wandering Tuesday morning in the parking lot of Dollar General, 2001 Lake Land Blvd. He said the man did not realize that Edwards was a missing person. He bought breakfast for Edwards at 9:15 a.m. that day at Hardee's, 1117 Lake Land Blvd., and then took her to shelter at his home, Taylor said.
The man reportedly learned that Edwards was a missing person when he saw a television news report Wednesday morning about state police searching for her, Taylor said.
The man took Edwards to state police District 10 headquarters in Pesotum at 12:50 p.m. Wednesday, Taylor said. Edwards has since been returned healthy and unharmed to her family, Taylor added.