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Man, 84, found after journey to New York

| Sunday, May 13, 2012, 11:25 p.m.

An elderly Fayette County man who disappeared Monday on his way to visit his wife at Frick Hospital in Mt. Pleasant was found late Tuesday afternoon near New York City.

Friends and family members of Russell Lepley, 84, of Connellsville breathed a sigh of relief after they were notified around 5 p.m. yesterday that Lepley had been located almost 300 miles from his home as he attempted to cross a bridge over the Hudson River from New Jersey into New York.

Lepley, who a family friend said has been diagnosed with early-stage Alzheimer's disease, was identified by bridge workers after his 1998 Cadillac Sedan DeVille got stuck at a bridge toll booth.

Connellsville police Sgt. James Capitos said yesterday that Lepley left his South Jefferson Street home at about 10 a.m. Monday. When he did not return, friends and family members began searching for him at various locations in Fayette and Westmoreland counties. They notified Connellsville police early yesterday after failing to locate Lepley.

Police alerted law enforcement authorities within a 100-mile radius of the city and also placed Lepley's name and description in the National Crime Information Center database, listing him as a missing person with a disability.

Capitos said family members believed Lepley, who is the retired president of the former Connellsville Corp. and is well-known in the community, may have become confused and actually headed toward The Uniontown Hospital instead of Frick.

Lepley's son, Rick, left last evening for New York to drive his father back to Connellsville, so it was not immediately known how Lepley managed to travel so far from home or where he might have stayed Monday night.

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