The search for Betty Mae Gery, 75, is over. The missing woman turned up at 10 a.m. in back of a shed behind the home of Jennifer and Corey Gressley in the 1100 block of Peevy Road in Upper Hanover Township. She was found right next door to the home of Lucy and Bob Kern, where she attended a picnic on Sunday afternoon.
The three-day search for Gery ended when Carol Gressley, who was at the home babysitting for her grandchildren Oren, 8, and Olivia, 1, spotted her.
Carol had just let the family dog Makenzzi, a 1-year-old Border Collie, outside. Makenzzi, who usually stays in the front yard, made a dash for the shed and began barking. Carol called the dog back into the house and went to the shed to see what “Kennzie” was barking at. There, she discovered Betty sitting in the brush. Carol notified her husband Jerry, who had just arrived at the home, to call 911.
Pa. State Police arrived quickly on the scene with six cruisers that were in the area preparing to resume the search.
Betty was taken to Lehigh Valley Hospital by the Upper Perkiomen Valley Ambulance. Except for the fact that she spent three days out in the elements, she seemed well and talked to paramedics.
Before she went missing, Betty was seen walking northbound through the parking lot of the Red Hill Manor on Sunday evening. She was later seen around 8 p.m. walking in the 1100 block of Peevy Road in Upper Hanover Township. According to State Police Sgt. David Milligan, Betty attended an event at the Kern’s residence earlier in the day. She was driven home to Red Hill later in the afternoon by Kern’s grandson Derek.
Police reported that she might be confused and/or displaying dementia-like symptoms if approached.
On Monday evening volunteers, including those from East Greenville, Pennsburg and Red Hill fire companies assisted in searching areas where Gery may have been.
On Tuesday afternoon, Pa. State Police and members of the Greater Philadelphia Search and Rescue (GPSAR), along with their search dogs, staged at Camelot Park in Upper Hanover Township to conduct an organized sweep of the area where she was last seen. Fire Police from Pennsburg, Red Hill and Hereford fire companies helped secure the roads in the area while members of the GPSAR and their dogs conducted a search of the banks of the Perkiomen Creek and surrounding woods throughout the afternoon. A state police helicopter joined the search around 2:30 p.m.
By 6:30 p.m. State Police on horseback joined in as the search widened in the area of Peevy Road. As sunlight faded around 7:55 p.m. the search was about to be called-off for the night when officials received a report from a nearby resident of an older women running through the cornfield near Kutztown and Bethesda Church Roads. Milligan cited the report as “credible” and searchers immediately descended on the area.
Once the area was cordoned off, searchers on foot and horseback began a thorough sweep of the cornfield. Within 15 minutes they were aided by a State Police helicopter from Reading that circled the area for nearly an hour while shining a bright light to aid personnel on the ground.
The corn was very high in the area of the sighting and officials speculated that Gery might be afraid and try to hide or run from rescuers.
Shortly after 9 p.m., a second State Police helicopter arrived from Hazelton equipped with a heat sensing device. That helicopter circled the area for nearly an hour while rescuers continued to surround the cornfield hoping to locate Gery. The efforts failed and at 10 p.m. the search was called off. The search was set to resume on Wednesday morning.
Wednesday’s search was just underway when the report that she was found was received. Milligan was quick to laud all who were involved in the efforts to find Gery.