Department of Natural Resources
March 11, 2020
Conservation Officer Jeremy Cantrell was contacted by Missaukee County Central Dispatch Sunday around 2:30 p.m. with information about a man who had been reported missing; he was last seen at the Stittsville & Cherryland Beagle Club in Springfield Township around 1:30 p.m. Saturday.
Before leaving the club, the man had told others he was going rabbit hunting in an area he frequents, located near Oil Well Road in Norwich Township. Aware that the man had a history of cardiac complications, friends attempted to search for him on their own before contacting 911 Sunday afternoon.
Cantrell used the last known coordinates from the man’s cellphone, which identified an area east of U.S. 131 and north of Inman Road. Volunteers and officers with the Missaukee County Sheriff’s Office, the Kalkaska County Sheriff’s Office and Michigan State Police assisted Cantrell for more than six hours Sunday, splitting into different groups to search surrounding areas. Around 9 p.m., Cantrell paused the search due to poor visibility.
Additional volunteers, including family and friends of the missing man, joined law enforcement agencies when the search resumed at sunrise Monday morning. Cantrell gave a situation briefing around 11 a.m. to the 30-person search party and issued a statewide missing person “be on the lookout” alert to all law enforcement agencies. A DNR plane was used to search the area over Norwich Township, to no avail.
At 12:55 p.m. Monday, Nate Deavenaue and Dean Piper, deputies with the Kalkaska County Sheriff’s Office, were searching on their side-by-side off-road vehicle along Naples Road in Garfield Township when they located the man and dog in his truck, about 10 miles south of where the search began Sunday.
The man told Cantrell that he wanted to check out a different hunting spot while on his way to the Oil Well Road location, but his vehicle became stuck. His cellphone battery died and he didn’t have a charger. Due to his health condition, he didn’t want to risk walking for help. Luckily, the man’s sleeping bag was still in his vehicle from a previous camping trip, so he could preserve the gas in his vehicle and still stay warm.
Missaukee County EMS evaluated the man and determined that he, and the dog, were okay.
Cantrell is a conservation officer in Missaukee County and has been with the DNR Law Enforcement Division since 2017.
Michigan conservation officers are fully commissioned state peace officers who provide natural resources protection, ensure recreational safety and protect residents by providing general law enforcement duties and lifesaving operations in the communities they serve. These officers undergo extensive search and rescue training to locate missing persons and have specialized equipment to navigate rural and difficult terrain.