Update: Elderly man missing overnight was found in cornfield
MADISON - An elderly Madison man who went missing spent more than 12 hours alone in cold, drizzly weather before being found by rescuers Monday afternoon in a corn field in Lac qui Parle County.
MADISON – An elderly Madison man who went missing spent more than 12 hours alone in cold, drizzly weather before being found by rescuers Monday afternoon in a corn field in Lac qui Parle County.
The end result was positive, but the incident was harrowing for Curtis Eugene Weber, 81, his family and the nearly 75 people who helped in the search, said Lac qui Parle County Sheriff Allen Anderson.
Weber, who has health issues, was reported missing at 8 a.m. Monday.
But based on information gleaned from a tracker on Weber’s vehicle, Anderson said Weber apparently drove away from his home just a few minutes after midnight Sunday night.
After his truck was found Monday in a slough about a quarter mile off County Road 14, a ground and air search was launched in that area with volunteers, law enforcement officers and emergency personnel.
Because of the rain, the air search and use of the K-9 unit from the Willmar Police Department was halted, but the ground search continued.
At around 12:45 p.m., Anderson said a first responder was standing on the box of an ATV overlooking a corn field when he saw a bit of red color in the field.
It was Weber, who was cold and wet, but conscious and alert and taken to the Madison hospital for evaluation.
It’s not known how long Weber stayed in the truck and when he started walking during the 12-hour ordeal, but Anderson said Weber was found about three-fourths of a mile away from where his pickup was found.
Weber was not calling for help, Anderson said.
He was found because a volunteer spotted something red Weber was apparently wearing that was visible through the rows of corn stalks.
“The quick response and assistance from everyone made this search and rescue a success,” Anderson wrote in press release.
Agencies that assisted the Lac qui Parle County Sheriff’s Office included sheriff’s offices from Renville, Pope and Douglas counties, the Willmar Police K-9 unit, Madison Ambulance and fire departments from Madison, Dawson, Marietta, Bellingham, Boyd, Nassau and Louisburg.
Anderson also gave credit to Midwest Machinery, Fieldcrest Fertilizer and Fernholz Crop Insurance for providing equipment and personnel to assist with the search.
“We should all be proud of our local communities for coming together and finding this man,” he said “We had people come from everywhere to help, which made this a successful day.”