Homosassa family thanks sheriff's office, community for help finding relative

By Kim Leoffler, Reporter
Last Updated: Thursday, January 18, 2018, 5:49 PM EST

A Homosassa family is thanking police and the community for coming together to find their loved one, who wandered for 14 miles before he was found.

James Phetterplace, 71, went out for a walk Monday. His caregiver called deputies after he didn't return after a few hours.

The Citrus County Sheriff's Office posted on Facebook and sent out Alert Citrus messages to people in the community. Within minutes, residents of a neighborhood on Oak Village Blvd spotted him and informed authorities.

The pedometer he was wearing showed he walked just over 14 miles.

Resident Bonnie Vanderbosch also posted about Phetterplace's disappearance on Next Door. She says the community often comes together to help each other.

"This is a very tightly knit community, and I just wanted to make sure everyone was aware," she told us. "It's not always a lost person -- more often it's a lost pet -- but this community always comes together and helps each other."

James' caretaker told us she is so thankful for the community's help. She has also ordered a watch with GPS for Phetterplace in case this happens again.