Tragic end to search
THE body of an elderly Bright man who failed to return from his morning walk last Tuesday was located on Wednesday, less than a kilometre from his home.
Thomas ‘Alec’ Thompson suffered from dementia but regularly went on walks in the bush near his Iarias Lane home.
He was reported missing at about 10.30am on August 28 after last being seen at 9.15am that day, heading up Iarias Lane in his pyjamas.
His body was found at 10am the next day with exposure to freezing overnight temperatures the likely cause of his death.
Emergency services began searching the area around Iarias Lane at about midday last Tuesday before suspending the search at dark and resuming the next morning.
Local police and members of Bush Search and Rescue, SES and Ambulance Victoria performed line searching and door knocked nearby properties.
The Victoria Police Air Wing was also used on both days while members of the public assisted too.
Almost 24 hours after being reported missing, Mr Thompson’s body was found.
Senior Sergeant Doug Incoll of Bright police said the discovery of Mr Thompson’s boots in a dry creek bed about 500 metres east of his home led crews to his body.
“One of the behaviours of people with dementia is they’ll walk until they’re exhausted or until they meet a barrier and when they can’t go anymore they’ll just sit down,” he said.
“It got down to minus four that night, so it appears that a combination of the extreme cold and his illness has contributed to his passing.
“It was an unfortunate end and a loss to the community of Bright under tragic circumstances.”
Mr Thompson had been an active member of the Bright community since moving to the town to retire from farming nearly 20 years ago.
He was a valued member of the Lions Club of Bright where he was a previous winner of the Melvin Jones Fellowship, as well as being involved in the local croquet club, the Anglican Church and more.