Posted at: 10/18/2013 5:18 PM
Updated at: 10/18/2013 6:31 PM
By: Abigail Bleck
ALBANY -- The Cape Cod sunset that serves as the backdrop to the Franz family vacation photo may look idyllic. But the worst ten minutes of Laura Franz's life occurred during the trop when her six year old son, who has Autism, wandered off alone when the family was preparing to head to the beach.
"Iff he went further or got out without us knowing and more time had elapsed, I'm not sure what we would have done then," explains Franz whose five and six year old boys have Autism.
But Friday afternoon, both Franz boys will be fitted with a bracelet attached to a transmitter. It emits a FM frequency that law enforcement can then track with a a corresponding antenna if either of the boys go missing again. Other children with special needs and adults with Dementia or Alzheimer's are also eligible for Project LifeSaver. The program, free to users, is funded through seized drug and gambling assets.
"You don't really weigh the dollar against someone's safety. We will do whatever we have to to get someone home quicker and safer," explained Sheriff Craig Apple during the unveiling of the program Friday.
A New York City boy who has Autism hasn't been seen for two weeks after he escaped from school. And this summer, 68 year old Alzheimer's patient Mary Wright was found dead after she went missing from her home in Schenectady.
"We want to initiate this program as soon as possible to make sure we can protect them," adds Apple.
For the Franz family, the hope now is vacations--and life in general--will be a bit easier.
"It doesn't negate your responsibility as a parent but it does provide you with some peace of mind, (knowing)that your children will be safe," says Franz.