NAPLES, Fla. – Ethel Dittrich thought the worst last Friday when she returned to her Naples home after playing bingo, and her husband of 68 years was missing.
After a missing persons report was filed in Collier County, a police officer located William Dittrich, 90, sitting in his damaged car about 230 miles away on Big Coppitt Key in Monroe County.
Dittrich was unable to remember how his car became damaged or how he ended up so far away from home.
After identifying Dittrich, a veteran of World War II and the Korean War, officials contacted Ethel to let her know her husband was safe, but Monroe County officials went the extra mile to make William feel comfortable.
With Ethel's approval, William was brought to an assisted living facility that is staffed around the clock until she could arrive the next day. William had a warm bed waiting, while the facility gave him fresh clothes as they cleaned the ones he was wearing.
The next morning, William had breakfast with the residents of the facility as Ethel had neighbors drive her south.
The two were finally reunited as the two embraced, thankful to see one another. Officials treated the Dittrich's and their neighbors to lunch before they made the journey home.
Ethel called Monroe County Social Services early Sunday night to say they had made it back safely, while also getting information on resources in the Naples area to offer further assistance.