Woman with Alzheimer’s found safe in woods by horseback rider

SHELBY COUNTY, KY (WAVE) –75-year-old Leoni Unzicker of Shelby County is back with her family after being lost for nearly three days. A horseback rider in Shelby County took a different route when she found the woman peacefully picking flowers.

Joyce Rueff said the horse trails off Shelbyville Road are a mix of woods and hilly pastures.

"If I had not gone to the right and gone around the other way, she may have gotten up and started to wander again," Rueff said.

Rueff and her horse, Ollie found Unzicker less than one mile from her home.

"I could tell she had been though a bad time, because she was scratched up and thirsty," Rueff said.

In extremely high temperatures, several agencies, dive teams, K9 Units, helicopters and volunteers searched without any luck.

"Her cheeks were very red, she had been exposed to the temperature and the sun, I am sure," Detective Mike Moore said.

Moore is amazed a woman with a diminishing memory could be so strong in such a trying time.

"She doesn't know who we are, but she is nice to us and we still love her," Cheryl Benedict, Unzicker's daughter said.

Benedict and her husband flew in from Salt Lake City overwhelmed with gratitude.

"It was like you could breathe again.," Don Benedict, Unzicker's son-in-law said.

"This weight was gone, and it was like taking a big breath of fresh air," Cheryl said.

Cheryl and her husband tracked down Rueff to say thank you.

Rueff assured the family Unzicker was in good spirits when she was found.

"She started talking about her husband, she told me his name," Rueff said. "She talked to me about her garden and we just waited."

Unzicker was taken to the hospital and treated for her scrapes and dehydration,

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