Remains identified as those of missing elderly woman

Elizabeth Ferguson
Elizabeth Ferguson

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Skeletal remains found Saturday morning have been identified as 86-year-old Elizabeth Ferguson.

Dental records aided the Shelby County Medical Examiner in identifying the remains, Memphis Police Department spokesperson Monique Martin said Tuesday.

Ferguson disappeared in early May after leaving her home in her 1993 Mercury Sable to visit her doctor. Her car was discovered early last week in a remote area of Ensley Bottoms.

Saturday morning, a four-wheel ground search of the area by Shelby County sheriff's deputies led to the discovery of Ferguson's remains and what appeared to be a woman's shoe and clothing about 200 yards from where her car was found.

Ferguson suffered from high blood pressure and was in the early stages of dementia.

Investigators say they don't suspect foul play. They believe Ferguson drove herself down the dirt road. Her car got stuck in the mud and she tried to walk to safety, but ended up lost in the woods.

Tuesday, Ferguson's daughter, Cheryl Feeney, talked about the pain of losing her mother and how she hopes to turn her grief into action.

"I hope what I've learned in the last six months I can put to use to help other people who might find themselves in this situation," she said.

Feeney said she's talked with Tennessee State Senator Beverly Marrero about introducing a bill into the legislature that would create a new alert system.

Marrero said me the alert would go into effect when someone with dementia or a similar illness is reported missing...

"I have a personal interest in this because my mom was an Alzheimer patient," she said.

Marrero is in the process of talking with organizations that deal with the elderly and mentally disabled. She hopes to propose a bill to the legislature that would become something like an amber alert for seniors.

"They are the most vulnerable members of our society, and I think as a society we have a responsibility to try to take care of them and protect them," she said.

Feeney agrees, and said she hopes the next time someone disappears like her mother did, families will have some new legislation to help with the search.

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