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Thelma Margaret Meschke (San Diego Sheriff's Department)

ESCONDIDO, Calif. — An 81-year-old woman with Alzheimer’s disease and the early stages of dementia drove away from her North County home while her husband was at the dentist, but was found safe in northwestern Orange County today.

Thelma Margaret Meschke went missing her home on Nordahl Road near Friendship Lane, in an unincorporated area outside Escondido, sometime before 10 a.m. Friday when her husband returned from his appointment, according to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department. She told him she wanted to have her nails done.

Meschke drove off in a purple four-door Honda Civic, although her driver’s license had been revoked because of her condition about a year ago, a sheriff’s department statement said.

Sheriff’s officials said about 12:45 p.m. Meschke had been found safe in the Orange County city of Westminster.

She had driven away before, but usually returned on her own or had gotten lost on her way to visit family in San Clemente.

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