MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - It's been more than two years since 62-year-old Burnese Merritt Rudolph was reported missing from her home in Troy. A month later investigators found her Ford Taurus sedan deep in the woods, but there was no sign of its owner.
Her son didn't know what to do or where to turn as precious hours slipped by. His missing mother suffered from dementia and diabetes.
"The first few months, you know, you grieve so long that you get angry. I'm at the angry level," her son told WSFA 12 News. It took two years before authorities found Ms. Rudolph's remains. She was in a wooded area outside of Troy.
Now a new system is being discussed inside Alabama's legislature that could prevent this kind of tragedy in the future. Every state has an "Amber" alert system to find missing children. The "Silver" alert system would be utilized much the same way to help locate missing elderly citizens.
"It is a time sensitive thing as well because if you've got an older person out there lost then of course you've got cold and the environment which will affect very quickly these individuals," said Rep. Jeremy Oden (R) Vinemont.
The idea came from the Silver Haired Legislature four years ago. It meets every year and comes up with resolutions or suggestions for bills to be introduced in the regular session. And the Silver Alert bill one that made it here, requiring a loved one to first call the local police.
"The police department would then contact the Department of Public Safety and they would get in touch with the Alabama Broadcasters Association and a media alert would be issued assuming that the person's.....the senior's health is at risk or their life is at risk," said Sen. Trip Pittman (R) Montrose.
The way the bill is written now it's the Department of Public Safety that would determine if a person's health or safety is a risk.
Another difference between the Amber alert and the Silver alert is that the Amber alert for children goes statewide, whereas the Silver alert for seniors would go out to the local area only.