83 Year Old Women Uses Medical Alert to Call for Help After Break-In

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Updated: December 26, 2022


Woman, 83, Uses Medical Alert Device to Call for Help After Break-In


83-year-old Willena Payne was sleeping peacefully in her home in Oxford, Nova Scotia,on December 9th when she was awakened by a loud noise at 1:30AM. The bang was followed by men’s voices that traveled down into Payne’s basement before returning up the stairs and heading for her bedroom door.

She then saw a man standing into her doorway. As she recounted the event to CBC News: “I said, ‘And who are you?’ And he just whirled around and started hollering, ‘Go, go, go, go, go!’ And you could hear footprints running and they disappeared.”

Despite all this action, at first Payne wasn’t sure if she was dreaming or awake. She turned all the lights on in the house and on her porch, and saw that her back door had been left open – and not by her. It was then that the realization dawned on her that her house had been broken into. She tried to call one of her relatives, but they slept through the phone’s ringing.

Her next thought was to call the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police), but she couldn’t see the buttons on her phone. So, she turned to her last resort – the medical alert device that she wears around her neck. Payne still had her phone in her other hand when she pushed the button, and she got a call from the dispatcher almost immediately. With a shaky voice, Payne told the dispatcher that she was okay, but that her house had just been broken into.


The Police Are Called


The Police Are Called

Payne had gotten in contact with a dispatcher at the Northwood Intouch program’s response center, located in Moncton. Northwood is a nonprofit that has provided this service for over 30 years. They tell their clients that they can use their emergency buttons for any reason, and at any time. Most of these emergency signals have to do with medical emergencies, but every year there are a few calls like Payne’s, which is exactly Northwood’s intention.

Police arrived within fifteen minutes to look over Payne’s home. Payne told the police that she wasn’t sure exactly how many men had broken into her home since she had only seen one directly, but that there were at least two and judging by their voices they were both male.

“I scared them off, scared them to death, I think,” Payne said, “because he just whirled around and started running and all I could hear were these footsteps running away and they went out the door.”


Tracking the Home Invaders

Police found tire tracks in the snow outside Payne’s home, heading away from the scene of the crime. During a patrol later in the day, the police found matching tracks going in and out of a handful of other driveways. A second B&E was also reported.

Police stated that based on this evidence, the individuals’ intent was pretty obvious. However, the suspects probably hadn’t realized that Payne was at home, and would not have made the attempt if they had known. In any case, she was lucky. The use of medical alert devices to call for police help isn’t common, but in this situation it was clearly the right choice.

The RCMP are still conducting an ongoing investigation, and are hoping that others will come forward with more information. Later on, Payne’s son told her that she had been lucky not to have been hurt, a possibility that Payne hadn’t considered in the heat of the moment.

Regarding the incident, Payne said that she hopes nobody else will have to go through a similar experience, and that she wishes that the people responsible for this type of crime would stop to think about the people whose homes they are violating.

We are happy that a medical alert device was used in the way it was intended to do, providing protection to seniors. You can see what medical alert devices have to offer by reading our Life Alert Reviews.


Featured Image Credit: OpenClipart-Vectors / Pixabay
In Post Image Credit: Flickr user Neil Carey / Wikimedia Commons