Missing Hurricane man’s SUV found in a flood plain, search continues

Hurricane police are searching for Ryan Mertlich, who has been missing since Monday, Hurricane, Utah, photo undated | Photo courtesy of Hurricane Police Department, St. George News
Missing person: Ryan Mertlich | Sept. 17, 2015, Flyer courtesy of Hurricane City Police Department, St. George News | Click on image to enlarge
Missing person: Ryan Mertlich | Sept. 17, 2015, Flyer courtesy of Hurricane City Police Department, St. George News | Click on image to enlarge

MOHAVE COUNTY, Ariz. –  The vehicle a Hurricane man was last seen driving from a relative’s home in Washington Monday night was located heavily damaged and unoccupied Wednesday night in what Mohave County Sheriff’s Office describes as a flood plain.

Ryan Daniel Mertlich’s camo colored 1995 Geo Tracker was located a few miles south of the Utah border and about 15 miles west of Colorado City, Mohave county Sheriff’s Public Information Specialist Patricia Carter said Thursday.

“We went out there last night,” Carter said Thursday, “It was dark, it was badly beaten up … It was located in a flood plain … it appears that he was caught up in a flash flood.”

The man has not been found and Carter said he may be yet another victim of flash flooding that occurred across the region Monday night. A total of 12 bodies have been recovered in the wake of a flash flood that hit Hildale Monday, and another seven bodies have been recovered from flash flooding in a slot canyon in Zion National Park the same night.

Search for Mertlich, 33, has been underway since family reported to Hurricane City Police Department Tuesday evening that he never made it home after leaving a family member’s home in Washington the night before.

“Family told us that he likes to drive through Warner Valley to get home sometimes,” Hurricane City Police Sgt. Brandon Buell said in a statement released Wednesday night.

Washington County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue joined in an assist after Bureau of Land Management law enforcement had made an initial search of the Warner Valley area and found nothing. By Wednesday night, Mertlich’s vehicle was located in the Arizona Strip area of Mohave County, Arizona, and the search was turned over to Mohave County Sheriff’s office.

Read more: UPDATED: Hurricane man goes missing between Washington, Hurricane

Mohave County Sheriff’s Office has a search operation ongoing in the area where the Geo Tracker was found, with eight search and rescue team members currently involved. Arizona Department of Public Safety’s Kingman aerial Ranger is assisting with helicopter support.

Washington County Sheriff’s Office remains available to Mohave County if needed, Carter said.

“We don’t know if it’s a recovery … or a rescue,” Carter said.

Ryan Mertlich – description provided by Hurricane City Police Department

Anyone with information about Mertlich is asked to contact the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office at 928-753-0753

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.



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  • ladybugavenger September 17, 2015 at 4:45 pm

    I’ve been in St George 4 years. That’s alot of flash flood warnings on the TV. And I never took them seriously…….until now!!! I got a whole new perspective on flash flood warnings. This destruction is heartbreaking

    • native born new mexican September 17, 2015 at 11:57 pm

      I agree ladybug. Growing up in a very rural area of New Mexico I was taught often about flash floods and I was strictly told where I was not to play- in the arroyo ( what people here call a wash I think) We were even told a spooky story in Spanish about a weeping woman who would grab us and drown us if we went in the arroyo. I have always remembered that child hood advice but after seeing what has just happened here I am so grateful my friends and family scared the heck out of me with that awful story. I totally agree with the heartbreaking part also. I wish the best to all the families.

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