Cuomo signs law creating alerts for missing adults

Frank Wlosinski / file photo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed a law creating a statewide alert system for Alzheimer's patients and other vulnerable adults who wander off and get lost.

The system is similar to the nationwide Amber Alert program for missing children. It will use the same mechanism to provide rapid public notification regarding missing adults who suffer from dementia or cognitive impairments that put them at risk.

A number of other states have similar laws to protect vulnerable adults.

Assemblyman William Magnarelli of Syracuse was a co-sponsor of the bill. In January of 2010, Frank Wlosinski, a retired firefighter with Alzheimer's disease, wandered away from his Fairmount home. The 74-year-old's body was discovered two months later along the shores of Onondaga Lake.

Magnarelli says he hopes the new "Gold" Alert System will help prevent similiar tragedies from occuring in the future.

"Hopefully we can save lives, and I'm pretty sure we will," he says.

37 states currently have similiar systems in place for adults with cognitive impairments who go missing.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.