The proof behind Project Lifesaver

Brady Wilkey managed to break away from the security of his ankle bracelet

It's a parent's worst fear when their child goes missing. Or, perhaps, it's when your elderly parent who suffers from dementia wanders away from home.

In recent years, an ankle bracelet has calmed those fears for a handful of people across the Quincy area.

Brady Wilkey's imagination is as vibrant as the colors in Alexis Partlow's special education classroom. But sometime last week, Brady got a little too creative and managed to break away from the security of his ankle bracelet.

"In the daily routine to see if it was working, we realized it was gone," Partlow said.

The bracelet is a GPS device provided through Project Lifesaver that can help police track Brady's location if he were to wonder away from home or his class at Baldwin Intermediate School.

"It provides a great sense of security for families as well as teachers for when the 'what if' happens," Partlow said.

He's one of 11 Adams County kids with autism who wear the bracelet.

"It's a really thick, leather strap so that he can't cut through it and he can't take it off, but after a while with wear and tear and getting wet, it wears around the rivets that hold it together, so it probably just came apart and Brady saw the opportunity to get rid of it, because I'm sure it bothers him at times," Partlow said.

Detective Tom Liesen with the Quincy Police Department heads Project Lifesaver. In a moment's notice he can turn on a receiver that tracks the bracelets signal up to 3 miles away.

"We have had searches here and we've found an individual here that'd been lost several times and we were able to find him each time," Liesen said.

But a search around town for Brady's bracelet came up empty.

"They asked him where he put the bracelet and he pointed to the garbage and goes, 'there it is.' But it wasn't there," Liesen said.

Liesen found himself in 5 feet of trash of the Backridge Landfill in LaGrange, Mo. when his receiver pin-pointed the bracelet's location.

"To me, that's a pretty good testament to show how good this program works, that we can find this little transmitter in a big pile of garbage," Liesen said.

In this case, it was just a bracelet. But Liesen says this technology could mean the difference in life and death in a more frightening situation.

"If they have a loved one that has autism, down syndrome, Alzheimer's or dementia with a risk of becoming lost, we need to get them on the program before they become lost," Liesen said.

Thanks to a new bracelet, everyone knows Brady's back in school.