SOCORRO COUNTY, N.M. (KRQE) – A family was preparing for the worst after an elderly Albuquerque man had been missing for three days. Thanks to a passing train, they got some good news today.
“We never dreamed it would be us going through this.”
Nancy Lee said that just minutes before getting a phone call this morning. Her father, Roger Houghton, hadn’t been seen for three days.
“They just said ‘I need you to call me regarding your father and immediately’ I thought the worst,” Lee said.
Fearing something terrible had happened to the 87-year-old who suffers from dementia, she didn’t expect to hear this.
“He said there’s wonderful news and my heart just started fluttering,” Lee said. “I was so excited.”
The WWII veteran who lives in Albuquerque had been found safe, far from his North Valley home, in San Acasia, a small farming community near Socorro.
New Mexico State Police say a Burlington Northern Santa Fe employee on a passing train spotted Houghton waving and was able to tell authorities where he was.
“It’s real rural in that area and we have all the ditches and it’s near the Bosque, the Rio Grande Bosque, so it a remote area,” Lt. Emmanuel Gutierrez with State Police said.
Even though it’s two counties away, Lee says it’s close to one of her father’s favorite spots.
“For a moment I thought maybe my dad went down to Socorro to the Bosque del Apache.”
“He loves to drive, he’s always driven around and we’ve never been able to slow him down but I think this is going to do it,” Lee added.
After talking to her dad tonight, Lee says he’s in good spirits.
“He basically said to me ‘I’m in trouble aren’t I?’”
With no injuries aside from being dehydrated, Lee is just happy to know he’s safe.
“I feel like it was an Easter miracle to be perfectly honest,” Lee said.
Houghton is being kept overnight at Socorro General Hospital. He has lived in the Albuquerque area for more than 50 years.