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Examiner
  • Missing woman's family holding out hope

  • It’s been a week since Hellen Cook was last seen in the yard on her property near Warsaw, Mo.



    But her family is not giving up hope that they will find the wife, mother and friend they hold so dear.

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  • It’s been a week since Hellen Cook was last seen in the yard on her property near Warsaw, Mo.
    But her family is not giving up hope that they will find the wife, mother and friend they hold so dear.
    “Without the community, we would be dead in the water right now,” said Trevor Ellis, the husband of one of Cook’s granddaughters, Sarah. “It is overwhelming when so many people are calling asking what they can do to help.”
    Cook, 72, was last seen around 11:30 a.m. July 13 near Walnut Grove and Hensley Road in Benton County, which is southwest of Warsaw, Mo. Hellen was outside working in the yard at the family’s vacation home while her husband, Howard Cook, was mowing the yard. When Howard finished mowing, he returned to the barn to put the equipment away. When he returned 15 to 20 minutes later, Hellen was gone.
    Terri Cook, Hellen’s daughter, said it appears her mother walked up the driveway from the house and climbed over a gate blocking the road, toward Missouri 7. Dogs tracked Hellen as far as Cold Springs Avenue and M-7, but then lost the trail. Benton County police believe Hellen might have gotten into a car at that point. A tip earlier this week said someone saw an older female getting into a dark-colored Ford F-150 just south of Lincoln, Mo. along U.S. 65. Lincoln is northeast of Warsaw. However, police have not been able to confirm if the woman was in fact Hellen Cook.
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    “We are still tracking down leads that are coming in,” said Terri Cook. “But we need new leads. We have got to continue to get awareness out to the public that we are still searching for her.”
    Terri Cook said the Benton County Sheriff’s Department asked the Missouri State Highway Patrol for help with the search Friday. The family is hoping a Silver Advisory will be issued. A Silver Advisory is similar to an Amber Alert, which is issued for missing children. However, a Silver Advisory is specifically designed for senior citizens who have Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia or other mental disabilities. To issue a Silver Advisory, a person must be at least 60-years-old and suffer from dementia or other cognitive impairment; a legal custodian of the missing person must file a missing person report with the local law enforcement agency and there must be “sufficient information available” to send out to the public to help find the missing person.
    Page 2 of 2 - Hellen Cook was wearing jean shorts, a light-colored T-shirt and tennis shoes when she was last seen. She is described as nearly 5-foot tall and 97 pounds with short brown or auburn hair.
    Cook suffers from Alzheimer’s and has been without her medication since she went missing. This will cause severe confusion and disorientation. She will likely not recognize her name, nor will she be able to speak in complete sentences.
    “We are keeping very busy,” said Terri Cook of the family’s searches for Hellen. “That is our method of coping. We are working to stay hopeful.”
    The family has organized several searches this week both in the Buckner/Blue Springs area and where she was last seen near Warsaw. An avid walker who walked as much as seven miles every day, the family believes that Hellen might have started heading back to the Kansas City area, either to her home in Buckner or to the Wal-Mart in Blue Springs, which is one of her favorite places to go.
    The next search effort is from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Volunteers are asked to come to the Blue Springs Assembly of God Church, 2501 N.E. Duncan Road, where they will be going door-to-door, distributing fliers and making phone calls, among other things.
    “She is a kindly older woman who is not afraid to speak her mind,” Ellis said of Hellen. “She is very physically fit, which I think is what is giving people hope.”
    Anyone who might have seen Hellen Cook or with information is asked to call the Benton County authorities at 660-438-9555 or dial 911.
    Information on search efforts can also be found open the family’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/?ref=tn_tnmn#!/FindHellenCook?fref=ts
     

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