TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

Local News

October 15, 2012

Missing Whitley Couple found

CORBIN — Becky Killian / Editor

A Whitley County couple that had been missing for a week was found safe in Georgia Sunday morning and were expected to arrive home early Monday morning.

Homer Martin, 80, and his wife Jeanette Martin,  77, went to a gas station in St. Marys, Ga., about 8:15 a.m. and asked a woman to call the local police, according to Karen Salmons, Homer Martin’s daughter. According to Whitley County Sheriff Colan Harrell, the couple had no money and no gas left in their vehicle when they asked for help.

Salmons said the woman didn’t have a cell phone and the gas station was closed, so she promised to call the Martins’ family when she got home. The woman kept her promise and, when she reached the Martins’ family, she was told a Golden Alert had been issued for the couple and that she should call the police.

A St. Marys police officer responded and Salmons said he saw to it that her parents were fed, given the opportunity to shower and rest in the police station, where a couch was moved from the reception area to a break room so the couple could watch TV. Salmons said her father fell asleep on that couch.

While the couple rested, Terry Blankenship, who is Jeanette Martin’s son, flew to Georgia. Late Sunday, he was driving the couple and their van home.

At this point, Salmons said details are sketchy about what may have happened during her parents’ absence.

“Once they get here, we have a lot of questions to ask,” Salmons said.

The Martins are said to be in good spirits and clueless about the concern they caused during their absence.

Before they were found, the couple had last been seen at 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 7, at their home on Black Diamond Road in Corbin by Jeanette Martins’ daughter, Billie Lancaster. They had left their cell phone, medications and all their clothes at their home.

Homer Martin takes an aspirin and blood pressure medication daily. Jeanette Martin takes a prescription for early onset dementia.

Harrell said the Martins, who have a home in Florida, had visited Earl Frazier, of Bellevue, Fla.,  Thursday afternoon. The couple was there about 20 minutes and had asked Fraziers’ help in finding their house.

Harrell said Frazier couldn’t help the couple, but he had suggested they go to city hall to see if an official could help them. The Martins left and Salmons said her father told Frazier they might stop back for another visit.

Harrell said finding the couple Sunday brought a positive resolution to a case he had found particularly worrisome.

“The prayers are answered,” Harrell said.

Salmons also expressed relief, though she said her family has been struggling in recent days with a plan that will let her parents keep their independence while also making sure they are safe.

The Martins’ typically live a well-ordered life and have a routine they enjoy, Salmons said.

“You don’t want to rob them of their independence and we don’t want to stifle them and make them quit living a life they enjoy,” Salmons said.

While waiting at her parents' house for word on the Martins, Salmons said her family has made plans to ensure they check with the Martins daily to ensure they are safe.

“We realize how blessed we are that they are coming home to us safely, but we can’t stop there,” Salmons said.

In addition to the support of family, Salmons said she is grateful to the local police as well as the St. Marys police for their help. She also is thankful to all the people who made suggestions and helped with the search as well the woman at the Georgia gas station who kept her promise and called the Martins’ family.

“People just don’t do that anymore,” Salmons said. “Thank goodness for this woman who just had enough heart and was a good samaritan.”

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