Family urges help in finding missing elderly man from Nixa

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NIXA, Mo. (KSPR) A Ozarks wife is in a frantic search for her husband, who left their house in Nixa early Tuesday.

86-year-old Tony Sciortino is suffering from dementia, and is believed to be driving a white 2010 Dodge Caravan with the license plate: WA3-T8G.

"I have no idea when he left," said Tony's wife Johnnie Sciortino. "I didn't hear the garage door. I didn't hear the car start. And when I got up this morning at 6 o'clock he was gone. He was just gone."

Johnnie Sciortino is Tony's wife. She says his battle with dementia has recently gotten worse. They couple has been married for 66 years.

"And last evening was one of those time," said Scortino. "He just didn't even recognize who I was. He was ranting and raving that he didn't live here -- and he had to go home. But I never in a million years thought he would ever get in that car and leave. But I kept trying to talk to him. It took me over an hour to even get him to put his pajamas on."

Tony's wife, Johnnie Sciortino says he hasn't changed much from this
picture. She says he was very agitated last night and was talking about going home, but it's unclear where that is.

Mrs. Sciortino had set her alarm clock.

"I was really tired because I had not been to bed in two nights," said Sciortino.

And went to check on him early this morning and he was gone.

"The furthest he has gone out of the house without me is to the mailbox," said Sciortino. "He has to be out of the area if they haven't spotted him, ust help me bring him home."

She says the gas tank in that Dodge Caravan was three-quarters full. He used to work as an over-the-road trucker, but has been retired for more than a decade. The couple moved to Nixa from Waveland, Mississippi, after they lost their home in Hurricane Katrina.

"And we thought we'd live there forever but Katrina happened. But this is worse than Katrina," said Sciortino.

"The problem is he doesn't have any navigation skills or sense of direction," said Det. Richard Eutsler. "So when he gets on the road he doesn't know where he's at or where he's going."

Detective Richard Eutsler with the nixa police department says it's a tough situation for any family member with a loved one battling dementia or Alzheimer's.

"If you've got a situation like this where you've got a diminished capacity, I would take extra care in maybe securing your keys," said Det. Eutsler.

"A GPS tracking system on a vehicle in case they do get out. That would give me something to look for. Maybe put a cell phone in their pocket, that would give me something else I could track."

Mrs. Sciortino says they had a GPS tracking device in the car but Tony removed it. She says her husband doesn't know what he would do if someone approaches him.

"He's not a violent person, he has temper tantrums and I referred to him as my five-year-old boy. It's like a child that stamps their foot when they get upset or things don't go exactly the way they want them to," said Sciortino. "But he's a very pleasant man. I love him."