Missing St. Petersburg man found okay in Boyd Hill Nature Preserve

ST. PETERSBURG — A 72-year-old St. Petersburg man who was missing for four days was found Friday afternoon wandering Boyd Hill Nature Preserve, police said.

Johnny Lee Watts of 2326 23rd St. S was reported missing from his home about 2 p.m. Monday. That afternoon police put out a description of the retired city sanitation supervisor, who suffers from Alzheimer's, asking for the public's help in finding him. Concerned because Watts has limited communication skills, police launched a helicopter with an infrared tracking device on the first night of the search.

About 2 p.m. Friday, a worker at the 250-acre preserve telephoned police to report that Watts was spotted there. Police found Watts walking in a field in the north part of the park.

When his wife, Bertha, saw him, Watts was wearing an undershirt, no pants and no shoes, she said. Watts was in good shape, but dehydrated, police said. He was taken to Bayfront Medical Center, where he was admitted for recuperation, his wife said.

Police are not sure how long Watts was alone in the park. Earlier in the week, they had received unconfirmed reports matching Watts' description from various corners in southern St. Petersburg, said Lt. Cleven L. Wyatt.

Police are hoping Watts, who had wandered off three times before, doesn't disappear again. St. Petersburg police gave him a $300 locator bracelet.

Missing St. Petersburg man found okay in Boyd Hill Nature Preserve 11/12/10 [Last modified: Friday, November 12, 2010 10:41pm]

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