Woman missing from living center

Authorities in Cleveland County are looking for a 46-year-old woman who walked away from an assisted living center Wednesday morning.

The missing woman is Mouy Tang, a resident at the Unique Living assisted living center near Lawndale.

That is the same assisted living center where a resident disappeared and later died two years ago. The center's operators later were fined by state officials.

According to the Cleveland County Sheriff's Office, Mouy Tang was last seen at the living center about 7:15 a.m., when an employee brought her medication for an undisclosed medical condition. A short time later, authorities say, a teacher at nearby Burns High School called Unique Living and said she had seen an Asian woman walking in the school parking lot. The teacher asked if a resident was missing from the living center.

But Unique Living staff members said Mouy is permitted to leave the center on her own, so she was not considered a missing person.

Authorities launched a full-scale search later Wednesday.

They focused on a 1 1/2-mile diameter around the living center, which is in the 2900 block of Philadelphia Road, between Lawndale and Fallston. Searchers included the Lawndale and Fallston volunteer fire departments, the Cleveland County Sheriff's Office, police dog search units, and the North Carolina Highway Patrol's helicopter.

Kelly “Buck” Whitesides, a 58-year-old resident of Unique Living, disappeared from the center July 30, 2006. His body was found six days later, 844 feet behind the building. Authorities said Whitesides died of dehydration.

A search for Whitesides was not launched until five days after he was last seen. State officials later fined Unique Living's operators $16,000.

At the time of Whitesides' death, neighbors told The Observer that residents of the adult care facility frequently walked off the campus by themselves.