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.
Contact Joel Metzger at firstname.lastname@example.org