Krista Bennington didn’t stop her car when she spotted a white-whiskered man walking alone near the Newtownsville Post Office Saturday. She might not have remembered seeing him at all if not for the bitter cold, which sent a brief flicker of worry across her mind as she drove to a visit with family in Hillsborough.
Only later, when Clermont County officials began posting missing persons notices, would she recognize him: Frank Buldain, a 75-year-old with dementia who had wandered away from home earlier that day.
The cold that concerned her over the weekend had deepened by Wednesday night, simultaneously halting search efforts and increasingly the urgency that someone find Buldain soon.
“I pray for him every day,” Bennington said. “I lay in bed, and I think about him, and if I just would have stopped, he could be with his family today.”
Buldain left his Stonelick Township home around 1 p.m. Saturday, according to police. He wore a gray jacket, blue pants, black shoes and an Adidas hat.
Canine units and an aerial patrol searched for him over the weekend without success.
David Rader, who heads the Midwest chapter of a group called Texas EquuSearch, said he had been asked by the county to assist and planned to lead a larger effort as soon as conditions allowed. He wasn’t sure when.
“(The family is) just digesting all of this,” he said. “They're just letting us do our thing, and they understand that timing is of the essence, but when you have this, you can't jeopardize other people's health."
The family’s anxiety gets worse with each day, he added.
Rader encouraged anyone with property that includes outbuildings such as a barn or a shed to check them soon in case Buldain may have taken shelter inside.
Bennington called 911 after she realized she had spotted a missing man Saturday, she said. She still feels as though she didn’t do enough.
“I thought about stopping, but I didn’t,” she said. “It’s a small town. Who would have thought?”
Anyone who sees Buldain or has information about his location should call the Clermont County Sheriff’s Office at 513-732-7510 or Texas EquuSearch at 281-309-9500.