Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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November 23, 2012

Newspaper carrier rescues woman trapped inside apartment

By Carson Gerber

CNHI News Service

KOKOMO, Ind. - A newspaper carrier saved the life of a 93-year-old who fell inside her apartment and was trapped for nearly three days without food or water.

Esther Wilkins had just returned from church Wednesday evening when she tripped and fell in her kitchen. Earlier in the day she'd taken off her medical alert bracelet, which has a help button for emergencies.

“That night I just had to spread out on the cold tiles on the kitchen floor to sleep,” said Wilkins, who lives alone.

Thus began an ordeal that lasted until Saturday morning, when Wilkins yelled to get the attention of Sam Gregory, 27, as he was hanging a copy of the Kokomo Tribune inside her storm door. Gregory has been delivering the paper for about six months.

On Monday, Wilkins was recovering in the hospital, looking forward to physical therapy and making plans to change her living arrangements so she'll no longer be alone.

“The whole thing was very traumatic," she said, "but I feel like I’m getting back to normal."

After spending Wednesday night on the kitchen floor, Wilkins discovered she could use a chair with wheels to scoot around the apartment. She wasn’t able to stand to reach her phone or the door handle. She managed to switch on the hallway light with her shoe, so she wasn't in the dark.

By Thursday night, she was frantically thinking of ways to get help. She thought of busting a window to shout for help but decided against it. “I kept trying, trying, trying to think of ways, but I just couldn’t get help," she said.

Then, early Friday, Wilkins heard someone at the door and realized it was Gregory delivering the Tribune. He typically hangs the paper inside her storm door so she can easily reach it.

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