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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Missing Leesburg man suffering from dementia found in woods near his home

Albert Pierce

Thanksgiving took on an even greater meaning for the family of a Leesburg man who was found alive and well two days after he went missing.

Albert Pierce, 63, was located Thursday by K-9 units deep in a wooded area north of his residence after a hiker located a Los Angeles Dodgers baseball cap. Pierce, who suffers the later stages of dementia, was then reunited with his brother. The remainder of his family lives in California.

Pierce had gone missing Tuesday after leaving his Keats Drive home around 2 p.m. A large-scale search effort was launched a short time later and by late Wednesday afternoon, sheriff’s officials said they had exhausted every option to locate Pierce.

Deputies and volunteers on horseback took part in the search effort for 63-year-old Albert Pierce, of Leesburg.

The search effort included aviation units from Marion and Lake counties combing the area from County Road 452 and Esmerelda down to the Lake County Fairgrounds and all of County Road 44 back toward U.S. Hwy. 441 in Leesburg. Lake Eustis and all canals in the area were searched from the air and by vessel. Deputies and volunteers also searched various areas using ATVs, UTVs and on horseback.

Lake County sheriff’s bloodhound units were assisted by those from Polk and Sumter counties as well in an attempt to gain any scent trails. Residents had reported seeing Pierce heading toward Eustis on CR 44 and bloodhounds tracked in that direction. But the track ended at Grand Island Ridge near Wedgewood, leading deputies to believe Pierce could have been picked up by a vehicle.

During the search, deputies spoke with people at every business in the area and asked them to check surveillance camera footage. A nationwide BOLO – be on the lookout alert – also was issued.

ATVs and UTVs were called in to help search for missing Leesburg resident Albert Pierce, who was found in a wooded area near his home on Thanksgiving Day.

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