80-Year-Old Florida Woman With Alzheimer's Found in Garage After Going Missing for 6 Days

Missing Woman With Dementia
Margaret Gallaway was reported missing by her husband after she wandered away from their home.Handout

The family of Margaret Gallaway frantically searched for six days for their missing matriarch, who doesn't talk and has Alzheimer's. She was found alive in an empty garage. But that was only the first miracle.

The first miraculous occurrence came when police found Margaret Gallaway, a missing 80-year-old Florida woman who no longer talked, lying in a neighbor's garage.

They had been searching for the beloved wife and mother for six days. Gallaway, who suffers from dementia, had somehow managed to survive without food or water.

The second miraculous occurrence came when Gallaway, who hadn't said a word in a very long time, opened her mouth and spoke.

"My name is Margaret Ann Gallaway," she said again and again to medical staff treating her in a Collier County hospital.

Her husband, Michael Gallaway, had reported her missing Oct. 17 after she apparently wandered away from their home in Crown Point. A neighbor's porch camera captured her walking down the sidewalk, clad in shorts and a T-shirt.

But that was all Collier County Sheriff's deputies had to go on. For six days, more than 100 law enforcement officers, neighbors, friends, and family searched for the woman.

Then came a lucky break. An officer looking at video surveillance footage from another house noticed a white blur, which turned out to be someone entering a home's open garage.

The homeowners had later closed the garage door, not knowing anyone was inside, and traveled out of town.

Investigators reached out for permission to enter the garage. Inside, they found Gallaway lying on the floor, very much alive.

A kneeling paramedic asked, "Margaret?" And the woman opened her eyes and replied, "Yes," her youngest daughter, Maureen Taylor, told WFTX-TV.

"We haven’t heard her say 'yes' in a long time," the daughter said. "She hasn’t spoken in as long as I can remember."

Michael Gallaway was jubilant when deputies arrived at his house and told him his wife, Margaret, was safe and in a nearby hospital.

"I was ecstatic. I didn’t know what to think. All I wanted to do was go there as fast as I could," said her husband. "Margaret is the most thoughtful and loving and caring person I have ever met in my life. Everybody loves Margaret."

The couple's son, Mike Gallaway, was astounded that his mother survived all that she did.

“If someone told you, you would be locked in a garage, basically in a dark box, for six days with no food or water. How many of us think we could get through that?" he asked.

The son urged homeowners to constantly engage their security cameras.

“Have them on all of the time," he said. "It’s more than just your security. It can save someone’s life."

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