ST. GEORGE – A man reported missing after being gone since 9 a.m. Saturday was located early Sunday morning in a casino in Mesquite, Nevada.
A man in his 70s left his home in the Hurricane area around 9 a.m. Saturday morning and was headed to the area near the Apex Mine about 5 miles off of old Highway 91, reportedly to do some rock collecting and metal detecting, Washington County Sheriff’s Deputy Darrell Cashin said.
The man was expected back home between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Saturday and when he did not return or make contact, his wife called for help.
Washington County Search and Rescue was paged at 8:58 p.m. Saturday to look for the missing man.
Ten Search and Rescue volunteers responded to the incident and searched the entire Jarvis Peak area near the mine, including the Mojave Desert Joshua Tree Road Scenic Backway and old Highway 91.
Communication about the incident was complicated by the fact that the man and his wife are both deaf, Cashin said. A third party made the initial call to the Sheriff’s Office and a deputy was sent to the residence for more information from his wife.
After searching without success for a couple of hours, a deputy returned to the house, at which point the man’s wife said it was possible that the man could have gone to Mesquite, Nevada.
“She said, ‘you know, I don’t know, he never said anything about it but he could have gone to Mesquite,'” Cashin said.
Deputies got the man’s license plate and contacted the Mesquite Police Department.
“They went and checked the main recreational areas down there, i.e., casinos, and they located his vehicle,” Cashin said, “and so they went in and made contact with him.”
The search was called off at about midnight.
The missing man enjoys rock collecting and metal detecting and visits the Apex area regularly, Cashin said.
“He does this quite often. The problem is, we had the rain come in and if he was out there and roads are bad and he gets stuck and then he’s stranded, he only has water and he has no food,” Cashin said.
“These things will happen, but we can’t take the chance that he might be out on that hill stuck somewhere,” Cashin said. “He had medical issues which were very disconcerting if he was stuck out there.”
Search and Rescue volunteer Mike Thomas, the first to arrive at the search site, said the man was believed to be diabetic, without his medication and had experienced heart problems a couple of weeks previously.
Neither Thomas nor Cashin view the search as a waste of time and say it’s always better to err on the side of caution. However, the public is encouraged to let someone know not only where they are going but when they return from the backcountry.
“Let your loved ones know. Let them know where you go and when you’re back out,” Cashin said.
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