BEAVERCREEK, Ohio (WDTN) – A two-day missing person search reaches a happy ending for one Beavercreek family. 77-year old Jerry Hetzel was found alive Saturday afternoon.
After more than 48 hours lost in the woods, Jerry Hetzel was found and reunited with his family.
Hetzel’s son Joe Hetzel is now thanking everyone who helped in the search efforts.
“Key thing is we never gave up hope, and we always kept hope alive, and said all our prayers and stuff, and we’re just so thankful we had this outcome,” Joe said.
Joe said around 1 p.m. Thursday, his father, who has dementia, went outside his home to feed the birds, part of his daily routine.
Joe’s mother realized Jerry was missing got Beavercreek Police and Fire Department involved, and a community search party was organized, many searching through the full 48 hours.
“Here it is total strangers who don’t know you or your family from anybody else, and they’re out there looking, going through the weeds, going through the woods, and just continuing to trudge,” Joe said. “It just brought tears to our eyes.”
Around 4:45 p.m. Saturday, Jerry was found roughly 200 yards from his home keeping shelter under some brush.
“It was a miracle because they were all, the crew was about ready to redirect their resources too,” Joe said.
Joe said after a difficult few days, his family is blown away by the community’s outpouring of support.
“We wholeheartedly thank the entire community, everybody who took their time out of their weekend and their days to come out and search, it’s just been amazing,” Joe said. “My family cannot thank you enough.”
Jerry was taken to the hospital for evaluation. Joe says other than some dehydration, his father was alert and in good spirits when he spoke with him this evening.