For the second time in six days, a search for a missing person has ended well.
"I'm glad that we have a happy ending and some good news for you all," Brownwood police Lt. Tracey Delgado told reporters Tuesday morning, a few minutes after a reserve sheriff's deputy located a 70-year-old nursing home resident who was last seen Monday at Brownwood Regional Medical Center.
Delgado and Sgt. James Kidd described a scenario in which a nursing home employee took Thomas "T.V" Woodruff to the hospital around 2 p.m. Monday, where Woodruff wanted to visit a family member. The family member was at the hospital for some sort of treatment or testing as an outpatient, the officers said.
The nursing home staff told Woodruff to contact them when he was reading to return to the nursing home so he could be brought back. But Woodruff never called, and the nursing home staff contacted police around 10:30 p.m.
"Patrol officers saturated the area … of the hospital (Monday) night and searched everywhere that they could," Delgado said.
Officers also contacted Woodruff's friends and relatives and checked the Bluffview Apartments, where Woodruff had once lived. "We contacted friends at Bluffview and they gave no indication he was over there," Kidd said.
"With an eight-hour head start he could've been anywhere. He ended up taking a ride from the hospital and during eight hours you can cover a lot of territory."
What officers didn't learn until Tuesday morning was that a stranger had given Woodruff a ride from the hospital. The stranger had taken Woodruff to Bluffview Apartments, where he stayed overnight with a friend — one of the friends officers had contacted, Kidd said.
Tuesday morning, the friend had taken Woodruff to McDonald's and then took him to the Good Shepherd Apartments — another complex where Woodruff had previously lived. Woodruff had checked himself into the nursing home, but he wanted to leave and had gone to Good Shepherd Apartments to check on renting an apartment, Kidd said.
Deputy Jim Cornelius, working in the records area of the sheriff's office, learned Tuesday morning that Woodruff had once lived at Good Shepherd Apartments. Cornelius gave that information to reserve deputy Mike Barr, who drove to the apartments. Barr saw Woodruff walking around outside the apartments at 10:23 a.m.
"Everybody did a wonderful job," Delgado said. "It's nice to report something that had a happy ending. It's so very few times that we have happy endings except on Duck Dynasty."
On March 20, a 72-year-old woman was spotted from a helicopter in rural southern Brown County after she left her home on foot.