It has been over a week since neighbors last saw 85-year-old Ernest Gaither. He was reported missing to the Payson Police Department Sept. 11. A neighbor of his near Green Valley Park last saw Gaither at about noon Sunday, Sept. 9.
Gaither, according to a news release from the police department, may be suffering from a mild form of Alzheimer's disease. He is known to frequent the areas of Swiss Village, Airport Road, Main Street, Green Valley Park and the wooded area south of the park towards the Doll Baby Ranch. Gaither is normally seen walking with a cane and was last seen wearing an aqua-colored, pinstripe long-sleeve shirt, blue jeans or brown pants and tennis shoes as well as a straw cowboy hat.
A search in the area of his residence yielded no clues as to his whereabouts. The police department received assistance from the Gila County Sheriff's Department, Tonto Rim Search and Rescue and a helicopter from the Department of Public Safety. Authorities conducted an intensive search from the Green Valley Park area west to Doll Baby Ranch to no avail through Sunday, Sept. 16.
The ground and air search have since been called off, and the police department is now seeking the public's help in locating Gaither. If you have any information regarding the whereabouts of Ernest Gaither, contact Sgt. Tom Tieman at the police department, 474-5177.