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Photo captures officer walking 81-year-old woman with dementia home hand-in-hand

Officers from the Charles County Police Department found out the key to a long life after rescuing an elderly woman who lost her way.
/ Source: TODAY

Five officers from the Charles County Police Department found out the key to living a long life after rescuing an 81-year-old woman named Roberta who had lost her way.

Roberta always takes a daily walk down the driveway of her home in Charles County, Maryland, where she lives with her daughter, granddaughter and great granddaughter. Once she hits the end, she usually turns around to head back up. But on Friday, she decided to keep going.

Once her daughter lost sight of Roberta, she immediately called 911 and mentioned that her mother also has dementia.

When the Charles County Police Department got the call around 3 p.m., they decided to send a group of officers that included Sgt. Clarence Black and Officer Brandon Morrison. After about 40 minutes, the officers spotted Roberta walking from the opposite direction.

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"I shouted her name and she yelled back, so we both ran toward her," Black, 40, told "When we got to her, she had branches in her hair that we had to pull out and was confused as to why we were there."

The officers told her they were taking a walk as well and asked if they could guide her home and she complied. Along the way, they got to talking about life and she told them how much she's seen and all the things she's done.

They were impressed by how mobile she was for her age, so they asked what her secret to living a long, healthy life was and she responded, "Eat good and stay active."

"It was cool to talk to someone that old who has experienced a lot of life and now lives with four generations," Officer Morrison, 21, told "I'm really close with my grandma, so I was intrigued by her story."

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While Officer Morrison was holding her hand, Sgt. Black followed behind and felt compelled to take a photo to capture the moment that was then posted to the Charles County Sheriff's Office Facebook page.

"It was such a simple gesture, so I thought it would be nice to have the photo to remember it by," Black said. "It was also neat to think about the fact that there's a 60-year age gap between them."

Once they got out of the woods and reached their patrol car, the two officers drove Roberta home, where she was reunited with her family, who were very relived to see her.

"Roberta didn't think it was a big deal and even said to her daughter 'I'm fine, I took a walk with these nice officers,'" Black said. "We were just happy to bring her back to safety."