Edna Rainey was found safe after 3 p.m. today in Ybor City by Jesse Guerrero of Brandon, who recognized her outside Jimmy’s Tacos, 1604 N. 17th Street, in the Ybor City neighborhood of Tampa. Guerrero said he read a missing person post about Edna Rainey on the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page less than an hour before spotting her.
The Seminole Police Department and other police agencies had been searching for the 74-year-old woman since 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, when she walked out of the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa. She was visiting the casino complex with her family from Palm Harbor. According to her family, Edna Rainey suffers from dementia.
Guerrero and his wife, Isabelle, stopped at Jimmy’s Tacos for something to eat after she picked him up from work at Blind Tiger Coffee Roasters in downtown Tampa. Guerrero said he was walking back to their car when he saw a woman who resembled photographs in the missing person Facebook post.
“I noticed her walking near the parked cars,” said Guerrero. “When I saw her face, she looked familiar. She introduced herself as Edna Rainey. She seemed unaware of what was going on.”
Guerrero called Seminole Police, who responded to the scene within minutes, with support from Tampa Police Department officers. Rainey is currently being reunited with her sister and daughter at the Seminole Police Department office adjacent to the Seminole Hard Rock.
“Her family is overjoyed,” said William Latchford, Executive Director of Public Safety for the Seminole Tribe of Florida. “This is a perfect ending to a scary situation, and we want to thank police agencies all over Tampa Bay for the great efforts they made to get the word out through social media and other channels. Special thanks to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office for the Facebook post that ultimately helped to find Edna Rainey.”
The Facebook post included a photograph of Edna Rainey taken by surveillance cameras Tuesday afternoon as she walked out of the casino complex. She was last seen alone and walking west on the south side of Hillsborough Avenue from Orient Road Tuesday. Family members lost touch with her at the casino and contacted security officers to report her missing. Police and security officers tracked her movements using surveillance video.
A “Be on the Lookout” BOLO notification was issued late Tuesday and circulated to Tampa Bay area police agencies, who cooperated in the search.