Indiana man with Alzheimer's lost on drive to BWI is found

November 25, 1999|By John Rivera | John Rivera,SUN STAFF

A 79-year-old Indiana man who got lost late Monday, leaving his wife at Baltimore-Washington International Airport while he got a rental car, was reunited with family last night. He was recognized when he pulled into a Northern Virginia park to ask directions.

Harley Freemont Burden Jr. of Freemont, Ind., who suffers from Alzheimer's disease, apparently became disoriented driving from the rental car agency back to the airport, said Cpl. Gregory Prioleau, a spokesman for Maryland Transportation Authority Police.

Police were notified of Burden's whereabouts by the manager of a municipal park in Chantilly, Va., who told them that Burden had stopped there about 1 p.m. yesterday and asked for directions to BWI, Prioleau said.

Burden and his wife had been scheduled to fly into BWI on Monday night to attend their son's wedding Saturday, but were diverted to Dulles International Airport in Northern Virginia.

From Dulles, they took a bus to BWI. Burden left his wife at the terminal while he went to get the rental car. He did not return.

About 10 p.m., Burden called National Car Rental and said he was lost in Parkville. An employee gave him directions to BWI, but he did not return.

After he was reported missing, Burden's photograph was broadcast on television newscasts, Prioleau said.

Burden drove into the parking lot of Ellanor C. Lawrence Park yesterday and went to the office to ask for directions to BWI. Some children recognized him from TV, and told the staff who he was.

The park manager contacted Fairfax County (Va.) Police, who called Prioleau. Prioleau called Burden's son, Ken Burden of Silver Spring, and set up a meeting last night at Cabin John Bridge near Potomac.

According to his family, Burden spent the night in a motel in Harford County.

"We were speculating -- here he was driving around in an area he was very unfamiliar with -- whether bodily harm had come to him, where he was and if he was OK," said Jacqueline Jenkins, Ken Burden's fiancee.

When Prioleau called the family, "there was a long moment of silence I know there were tears of joy," he said. "They said this would be the happiest Thanksgiving they would ever have."

Pub Date: 11/25/99

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