Two separate searches by the Maine Warden Service for missing elderly Mainers have ended happily.

Earlier today, Dec. 7, Maine Game Wardens were actively searching for Donald Harding, 88 of Dresden. He was last seen at his residence on the Gardiner Road in Dresden at approximately 12:30 pm, before he wandered out into the woods from the back of his house.

Due to the high winds, sub-freezing temperatures, and Harding’s history of dementia, a search was initiated quickly involving the Maine Warden Service, Maine Warden Service K9s, Maine Warden Service aircraft, Maine Forest Rangers and Maine State police.

Searchers canvassed areas near the house, and at approximately 4:00 pm, a driver noticed an elderly man hitchhiking down the Gardiner Road. Searchers quickly got to him, identified him as Harding, and brought him out of the cold.

Harding was examined by emergency medical personnel, did not need further medical attention, and was returned home.

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On Saturday (Dec. 5) in Bremen, Game Wardens were called to search for a missing 78-year-old woman during a storm. Virginia Betts of Bremen had walked out of the residence where she was staying at approximately 1:45 pm, and into the pouring rain, wind and cold.

With the storm intensifying, Maine Game Wardens, Maine Marine Patrol, Maine State Police, Waldoboro Police, Bremen Fire, Lincoln County SO and family and friends began intensively searching for her.

Betts’ family was able to provide a last known location for Betts through a cell phone app before Betts’ battery died, and searchers focused on that area.

At approximately 3:15 pm, her neighbor, John Stirratt of Bremen, located Betts in the woods, 50 yards from a snowmobile trail between Nobleboro Road and Pemaquid Lake.

Betts was cold and soaking wet, but after being examined and warming up, she did not need further medical attention and she returned home.