Missing woman found by deputies

A 55-year-old missing woman who suffers from dementia and other medical issues is back at home after being found by the Merced County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Team on Tuesday.

Around 2 a.m. Tuesday, deputies responded to a home in the 6000 block of California Street in Winton after Maria Baniaga was reported missing by family members, according to a sheriff’s press release.

Volunteers and the Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Team began searching for Baniaga around 7 a.m. in the Winton area. The search was expanded to the Cressy area after deputies received a tip through the Merced County Emergency Notification System that Baniaga might be in that area.

A second tip from the system led searchers to the area of Olive Avenue and Stein Road in Livingston, where Baniaga was found. She was slightly dehydrated but otherwise seemed to be unhurt, and was well enough to return to her family, medical personnel determined.

Deputies said tips received through the Emergency Notification System played a primary role in locating Baniaga. The sheriff’s helicopter and motorcycles were also used in the search, according to the release.