No sign of missing Knoxville man after two weeks of searching

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn (WVLT) -- The Knox County Sheriff's Office is going into their nineteenth day in the search for a missing Knox County man. On November 21, a Silver Alert was issued for 77-year-old Jackie Harrison.

Jackie Harrison was reported missing Sunday night. / (KCSO)

Harrison went missing from the Halls Walmart on November 17th.

Sheriff Spangler said on Wednesday that the Knox County Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Unit will continue to follow up on leads the public is providing.

Monday morning, KSCO asked the public for help in the search. Knox County residents are asked to:

- Continue to share Harrison's photo on social media
- Check barns, outbuildings, creeks, and any vehicles on your property.
- Monitor security cameras. If possible, check the night of Harrison's disappearance
- Talk with neighbors and anyone who doesn't watch the news or have social media because they may not be aware he is missing

Harrison's sister-in-law Melissa Worsham said, "She [Harrison's wife Karen] misses him so much, and we all do. I'm just so scared that he's out here cold and hungry and scared. I just want him home."

Investigators said Harrison was separated from his family at a Walmart in Halls Sunday night. Officials said Harrison, who has dementia, has several medical conditions that require medication. His wife told WVLT that he went inside the store to go to the bathroom and minutes later he was gone.

Officials said it's not unusual for Harrison to walk every day, sometimes up to 10 miles, with no issues. However, investigators said the night Harrison went missing, it was dark and he got turned around. A sheriff's office spokesperson said they are hopeful for his safe return.

"We're hopeful that with his history of walking and we've not had extremely frigid temps at night we're hopeful for his safe return to his family," a sheriff's office spokesperson said.

Harrison was last seen wearing blue jeans, a multi-colored polo and a brown jacket. Officials said he could have on a baseball hat with what appeared to be a Broncos logo on it. Investigators said Harrison may look a bit different from the photos released and may have more facial hair. He could also be in different clothing.

KCSO said if you see someone who fits his description of Harrison call 911 immediately and keep the person in your line of sight. You can also call the family at 865-661-9864 or 540-207-6602.

What's next in the search?

On November 21, 27 members of the sheriff's office Special Operations Response Team searched for Harrison.

On November 22, the sheriff's office said officials will be out with a dog tracking team as the search continues.

What is a Silver Alert

The sheriff's office said a Silver Alert gives law enforcement more reach when it comes to missing persons. With the alert, KCSO will now be asking TDOT to put the Silver Alert information on their message boards.

The sheriff's office also said that as soon as Harrison was reported missing, a BOLO was released to all law enforcement agencies in the area. That BOLO is repeated every day to all those same law enforcement agencies.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation handles statewide alerts, such as the AMBER Alert. However, the sheriff's office said the TBI does not offer Silver Alerts.

Ways to help those with dementia

Those with the dementia diagnosis, Alzheimer's or memory loss are at an increased risk for wandering. More than half of people diagnosed will do so on their battle.

Jane Wade Whithead, the CEO of Alzheimer's Tennessee says, "Instead of stoppnig and thinking should i look for someone that i know or give myself a moment the impulse is to walk to find somehting that looks familiar and unfortunately that makes them get further and further from their las known spot."

Some things caretakers can do to help is add chimes to doors or provide them with high tech devices they can wear on their person. It is important to remeber however that said devices only work of they are with them at all times.

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