Originally created 09/21/04

Motorists discover missing man



WINDSOR - An intensive four-hour search for a man suffering from Alzheimer's disease ended on a happy note when the 77-year-old Batesburg man was found walking along a highway about three miles from the heavily wooded area where he went missing.

Aiken County Sheriff Mike Hunt said George W. McManaway had been with his wife at a rental property they own about three miles west of Windsor off Colbert Bridge Road when he went missing.

"He told his wife he was going to walk down and look at a pond, and he didn't come back," Sheriff Hunt said. Authorities were called in to help at about 4 p.m. Monday.

More than 20 law enforcement officers and volunteers combed the densely wooded area on all-terrain vehicles and horseback. Members of the Aiken Bloodhound Team tried to locate Mr. McManaway with search dogs, and a helicopter equipped with infrared technology was used by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.

Two men driving north on U.S. Highway 78 found Mr. McManaway walking along the side of the road and took him to the Windsor General Store, where he was able to call relatives, store clerk Teresa Najera said.

"He's safe and back with his family now," she said.

Sheriff Hunt said Mr. McManaway suffers from third-stage Alzheimer's disease and wears a pacemaker. The sheriff said authorities were concerned the temperature would dip into the low 50s Monday night.

Department of Natural Resources officers and authorities from the Aiken and New Ellenton police departments assisted Aiken County sheriff's deputies in the search. At least 10 civilians also volunteered to look for Mr. McManway.

The search was called off shortly before 8 p.m. Monday.

Reach Stephen Gurr at (803) 648-1395, ext. 110, or stephen.gurr@augustachronicle.com.