Birch Tree area search has happy ending

A developmentally disabled adult was found safe after an extensive search that lasted more than 14 hours. The 24-year-old was first reported missing by his father around 1:00 p.m. on Thursday in a thickly wooded area between Montier and the Jacks Fork River. 
A volunteer horse team from the Myrtle area found the nonverbal man and transported him out of the woods around 1:30 a.m. Friday. This group was organized by Dustin Madden of Couch, MO. “I just heard about it and called the boys and loaded up to come lend a hand because if it was one of ours, we would want every hand we could get looking,” he said.
“It was great to see so many good people come together,” said Shannon County Sheriff Darrin Brawley. “We’d like to thank them all, including the nearby property owners who allowed us to use their land to park vehicles and set up a command post. It’s really good to see the people of Shannon County all pitch in to help in a situation like this.”
“We really appreciate how all the agencies and neighbors came together to make it come to a good outcome,” added Birch Tree Fire Chief Sam Murphy.
Close to a hundred people assisted in the search. There were seven search teams of ten people each, as well as three dog teams and the horse group. Dense vegetation prevented use of a helicopter, although a drone was attempted, says a release. A thermal imaging camera, a device that detects body heat at a distance, was also utilized. 
Agencies from across southern Missouri were involved, including Mountain View, Roby, Eminence, Winona, Birch Tree, Thomasville, Summersville, West Plains, Willow Springs, and Eleven Point Fire Departments. Dog teams came from the Oregon County K9 Unit, Region G Canine Search and Rescue, and the Thayer Police Department K9 Unit. Mercy EMS and the Shannon County First Responders provided medical support. One EMS worker went out with each team. Several local citizens also showed up to help, and some brought food and water for the searchers. 
“I was very impressed with how many showed up,” said Mandy-Marie Lavallee of the Shannon County First Responders. “It made my heart happy to see everyone when they were needed most!”
 
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