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TAYLOR COUNTY (WAOW) -
Some potentially life-saving technology took center stage in Wisconsin after the search for two missing children with autism.
One search in southern Wisconsin ended tragically with a child being found dead in a pond. However, it was a happier ending in western Wisconsin. Thousands of people helped in the search in pierce county for 5-year-old Scott Meyer. Twenty-one hours passed and then a man with his dog found the autistic boy on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River. He was taken to a hospital to be checked out and then returned to his grateful family. Scott's mother Barb was speechless. "I wish I could give you words but I can't," she said.
The outpouring of support overwhelmed Scott's mother, who says her son will soon wear a new tracking bracelet. It's something Rob Keefe understands. He, too, has an autistic son and spearheaded an effort to bring the project lifesaver program to Taylor County. "We wanted to have something to make is feel more secure if he ever walked away," Keefe said.
Eric Petersen from the Taylor County Sheriff's Department notes that the bracelets aren't just for those with autism. "People with dementia, downs syndrome, epilepsy anyone who is at risk of wandering."
Project Lifesaver provides tracking bracelets, making it easier for searchers to find those who might wander. "It emits a signal and then we use a radio device to track them down when they are missing," said Petersen.
On a cold March day six years ago, Newsline 9 put the technology to the test with Keefe and the Taylor County Sheriff's Department. It took just 7-and-a-half minutes to find our volunteer wanderer.
It cost Taylor County thousands of dollars to buy the Lifesaver technology. Much of it was paid for through donations. Families who buy the bracelets pay $4 a month for the service, which Keefe says is a small price to pay. "It's pretty cheap to save a life," he said.
If you have questions about Project Lifesaver, you can contact the Taylor County Sheriff's Department at 715-748-2200 or visit http://www.projectlifesaver.org/
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