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Missing Mokelumne Hill man found

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Posted: Tuesday, September 25, 2012 10:01 am | Updated: 9:41 am, Mon Oct 1, 2012.

An elderly Mokelumne Hill man suffering from dementia who has been missing since Sunday was found a quarter mile from his house at about 9:40 a.m. Tuesday.

Duane Gates, 79, was last seen by his caretaker, who comes in six days a week, at 5 p.m. Saturday on the 300 block of Montgomery Drive, east of Mokelumne Hill.

He was spotted Tuesday morning by a neighbor in an area that had been searched by Calaveras County Search and Rescue and flown over numerous times by a helicopter.

Sgt. Chris Hewitt with the Calaveras County Sheriff's Office said it was highly unlikely Gates had been missed by the search and rescue team.

Hewitt said it was more likely Gates had come back into the search area Tuesday morning, whether on foot or after being dropped off by a vehicle.

Sheriff's detectives were not able to get a clear statement from Gates, due to his mental state, Hewitt said, adding he had an arm injury and was flown to Doctor's Medical Center in Modesto for treatment.

"Detectives are planning on going down to the hospital Wednesday morning to try and interview him," Hewitt said.

The search for Gates was called off this morning after an exhaustive search of a portion of the steep Mokelumne River Canyon just east of Mokelumne Hill turned up no sign of the missing man.

He was reported missing at about 6 p.m. Sunday, after his son came to visit and found the house left wide open, a plate of food on the table and his father nowhere to be found.

Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office detectives operated a search of the area around Gates’ house Sunday night and Monday. The Calaveras County Search and Rescue team, spent all day Monday searching steep canyon around Gates’ house, utilizing dogs trained to find live people and cadaver dogs. A helicopter crew scanned the search area from the sky Monday. None of these efforts yielded any results, Hewitt said.

For the full story, see Friday's print edition of the Calaveras Enterprise.

© 2015 Calaveras Enterprise. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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5 comments:

  • Thomas Perez posted at 8:11 pm on Tue, Sep 25, 2012.

    Thomas Perez Posts: 36

    Hi joel my cell service doesn't work up here in Arnold and won't be going down to the bay until next week.. Basically what i posted above.. I was traveling approx 55mph passing him. What struck me as odd was the man had to be 70-80 yrs old standing about 20' back from the road. He was holding something like a cane or one of those folding shopping carts with wheels (not sure). He seemed to be lost to me for some reason. I travel hwy 4 all the time for 20 yrs never seen anything like it.

     
  • Joel Metzger posted at 1:53 pm on Tue, Sep 25, 2012.

    Joel Metzger Posts: 2

    Thomas, can you give me a call at 498-2053? I'd like to learn more about what you saw and when.

     
  • Thomas Perez posted at 12:28 pm on Tue, Sep 25, 2012.

    Thomas Perez Posts: 36

    Oh good. Any knowledge of the location he was found? I was racking my memory of my sighting, and was getting ready to post more on his description.

     
  • Thomas Perez posted at 11:48 am on Tue, Sep 25, 2012.

    Thomas Perez Posts: 36

    I tried posting yesterday but couldn't post. I don't have phone/cell service up here in Arnold so couldn't call it in. Yesterday appox. 3:00pm driving from Angeles camp just approaching Murphy''s i seen an old man hitch hiking up hwy 4 in the direction of Murphy's. I though it to be unusually odd. Hope this might help.

     
  • Charles Dudley Jr posted at 11:42 am on Tue, Sep 25, 2012.

    Charles Dudley Jr Posts: 1281

    He was found earlier today. Info via Facebook.