Man wants change to silver alerts after mother goes missing

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A local man wants the state to change its guidelines on silver alerts after his mother was reported missing and is now on life support in the hospital, days after being found.

The 84-year-old woman was missing for almost three days and was found in terrible condition. Her son said that Friday he will have to take her off life support at the hospital.

William Parks wanted to share his story because he said he was told that there was a silver alert issued for his mother, but found out that the alert was never issued.

Parks said he is very emotional right now because of the big decision he has to make about his mother's life and said he doesn't want anyone to go through what he did over the past week.

"I asked every one of the officers, "If it was your mother out there, when would you want somebody to start looking for your mother?'" he said. 

Parks said his mother went missing Saturday and he called the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office and one of the responding sergeants told him there would be a silver alert issued.

His mother wasn't found until Tuesday afternoon in a parked car on the Northside and that's when Parks said he found out the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office never filed a silver alert.

"I didn't really know how to feel. I just felt like I didn't count at all and basically that nobody really counted," Parks said.

When asked why they didn't issue an alert though Parks was told there was going to be one, JSO said that after evaluation, the missing 84-year-old did not qualify, saying in a statement:

"A silver alert was not issued because the victim did not meet the qualifications for a silver alert established by FDLE. For a silver alert to be issued on someone over the age of 60, they must meet two qualifications.

  • Must be traveling in a motor vehicle with a known tag number
  • The person must have a verifiable irreversible deterioration of intellectual faculties, such as Alzheimer's or dementia."

In this case, Parks' mother was in a vehicle, but JSO said she did not have any intellectual problems.

Parks said he understands the reason for the guidelines but thinks that although his mother didn't have a deteriorating disease, she still should have qualified because of her mental state. He said she left a note in her home, indicating that she was upset and could harm herself.

"Maybe there should be some guidelines set up, but in this particular case, it was obvious there was a problem. There was a serious problem," Parks said.

Parks said he's not mad at police but wants to see a change in what qualifies for a silver alert. He thinks they should be considered on a case-by-case basis.

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