John L. Tylock of North Tonawanda was disoriented, dehydrated and covered in bug bites when a team of 25 police, firefighter and volunteer searchers found him Tuesday afternoon, wandering in a wooded area, in the neighboring Town of Wheatfield.
The main thing for Tylock’s family and North Tonawanda Police, though, is that he was found alive, presumably after spending 11 days alone with no food, water or other provisions in the woods north of Forbes Street and east of Nash Road.
“We were very shocked to find him alive,” said North Tonawanda Police Lt. Karen Smith.
“He was very incoherent when he was found,” Smith continued, when asked about 64-year-old man’s condition after rescuers caught up with him Tuesday.
“I would imagine he had to have gotten water from somewhere but, for all intents and purposes, we believe he was back in that wooded field area for the entire 11 days,” she added.
Tylock’s wife, Rita, described his family as “happy” and “excited” that Tylock was found and that he had survived his ordeal. In a brief telephone interview with The Buffalo News Wednesday, Rita Tylock said she had no idea how her husband wound up in the woods following his disappearance nearly two weeks ago, though she described him as suffering from depression.
“He went for a walk and never came back,” she said.
After he went missing, Tylock was the subject of five different searches by land and air, and with assistance from the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office and the Erie County Sheriff’s Canine Patrol.
“We had done a foot search by our patrols the day he went missing, and that was done in the wooded area,” said Smith.
“Since then, U.S. Border Patrol put a helicopter up for us. The Sheriff’s Office just this past Monday had two (rescue) dogs doing searches, and yesterday we did a shoulder-to-shoulder line search and that’s how he was eventually located,” she added.
Searchers from the North Tonawanda police and fire departments, the Niagara and Erie County Sheriff’s Offices, and local fire halls were involved in Tuesday’s effort, Smith said.
“Yeah, it is pretty extraordinary,” said Smith, after contemplating the odds against Tylock having survived a lonely, 11-day plight.
“We are really shocked he’s alive,” she said.
“He was disoriented when he left. Obviously, when he was found he was extremely dehydrated and had lost a lot of weight. He had bug bites all over his entire body and was incoherent,” Smith continued.
“He had nothing with him when he went,” she added.
After his rescue Tuesday, Tylock was transported to a local hospital, where he remained Wednesday, according to his wife.