CHANDLER, AZ - A Chandler man was shopping at Fry's Saturday with his wife, Joanne Pellechia, when she suddenly disappeared.
Her husband searched for 30-45 minutes before finally calling the Chandler Police Department to report her missing.
Authorities launched a Community Emergency Notification System (CENS) alert, which sends a recorded telephone message from authorities to businesses and homes in the immediate area.
Chandler police Sgt. Joe Favazzo said authorities can determine where and to whom the alert goes out to, starting with a nearby intersection and then expanding as needed.
This is the first time the police department has had to launch this alert, he said.
The alert system sent out Joanne's description and Craig Bowden's children got the call.
Ten-year-old Cadyn and 7-year-old Trenten urged their dad to go out looking for the woman.
They hopped in the car with their dad and started searching at the Fry's where the 84-year-old woman went missing.
Just over an hour after she was reported missing to police, the Bowdens found her at Hancock Elementary School.
Joanne’s son Michael was able to thank the Bowden family for their help later in the day.
“These are the special little angels that saved my mom,” he said.
The CENS system is used to alert communities about school lock downs, street closures and other emergency information. Police and fire officials are the only ones who can initiate a CENS alert, he said.
CENS alerts are available in English, Spanish through TTY messages for those with audio disabilities.
Register your cell phone or VoIP phones for CENS alerts at maricoparegion911.org/CENS.htm.