Elmira/Corning Regional Airport

Missing Elderly Womanís Body Found

Written By: Renata Stiehl

Johanna Kirkwood Missing Since Saturday

Missing Woman
UPDATE: Tompkins County Sheriff Ken Lansing says a member of the Civil Air Patrol discovered the body of Johanna Kirkwood at 3:45pm Monday. Kirkwood was found in an open area between East Shore Drive and North Triphammer Road, on the fringe of the ground grid search perimeter. No foul play is suspected.     
 
LANSING (WENY) -- Family members are holding out hope in the search for the safe return of an elderly woman with dementia, who went missing on Saturday.
     Eighty-one year old Johanna Kirkwood left her home at Horizon Village apartments Saturday morning; today, authorities and volunteers continue their search. Johanna suffers from Alzheimer's disease, and her husband found her missing when he returned from the store. Family members say she's never wandered off on her own before.
     Authorities say she was last seen walking along Triphammer Road, and East Shore Drive Saturday afternoon, but there's been no sign of her since. Monday, the search continues on the ground and in the air, while Johanna's family hopes she found shelter from the bitter cold.
     "It's been a very trying 48 hours, and we just need some cooperation from the weather. The cooperation from the community has just been outstanding," said Jim Kirkwood, Johanna's son.
     Jim, his brother Bob and their families are trying to stay positive in the search for Johanna. Jim says his father called Saturday around 11:30, in hysterics, saying Johanna wasn't home when he got back from the store.
     "It's one of those phone calls you never want to take," Jim said.
Even though temperatures are below freezing, Tompkins County Sheriff Ken Lansing says the area isn't harsh.
     "This is such an area where people can get shelter and survive, even though it was bitterly cold last night there, there are places where people can go and survive through this, and that's what we're hoping for," Sheriff Lansing said.
     A grid search of the area over the weekend turned up no signs of Johanna. Monday, a state police helicopter scans the are from the sky.
     "People cant just disappear, and it seems that's what's happened," said Sheriff Lansing.
     At the command center set up in Lansing, authorities with the Tompkins County Sheriff's Office, New York State Forest Rangers, State Police, along with search and rescue teams from Long Island and hundreds of community volunteers plan their next move.
Jim Kirkwood says the outpouring of support is overwhelming.
     "It was certainly appreciated over the weekend, it is unbelieveable for a work day. That we were able to maintain those numbers, and have people who have busy lives to take the time to help us find my mom," he said.
     Johanna is five feet, three inches tall, with white hair and weighing 110 pounds. She was lst seen wearing a black quilted jacket, white sneakers, and carrying a purse.
     Anyone with information is asked to call the Tompkins County 911 Center at (607) 257-3888.