Rescuers Spend Night In Fruitless Search, Then Head For Parade

Tonto Rim Search and Rescue volunteers searched all night for a missing man — but still showed up in time for the parade.

Tonto Rim Search and Rescue volunteers searched all night for a missing man — but still showed up in time for the parade. Photo by Andy Towle. |

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Tonto Rim Search and Rescue got some unexpected training this weekend when it was called out to search for a missing Star Valley man.

But after four hours of fruitless searching early Saturday morning, the man turned up at a local motel unscathed.

Turns out the man needed some space from family to grieve a business deal that had soured, said Bill Pitterle, commander with TRSAR.

The Gila County Sheriff’s Office called volunteer rescuers out about 2:30 a.m. after the man’s family reported him missing.

The man, in his 60s, had reportedly left his Star Valley home on foot around 6 p.m. and never returned.

When he did not come back and one family member thought they heard gunshots in the woods, they grew increasingly worried, Pitterle said.

Despite the late hour, “quite a few” TRSAR members showed up to search for the man, he said. They fanned out across the forest around his home, but found no clues to his whereabouts.

Come to find out, the man was staying at a Star Valley motel. He called his family around 6 a.m. to say he was OK, not aware anyone was looking for him.

Afterward, search and rescue volunteers had little time to recoup.

Just a few hours later, at 8 a.m., they headed to Main Street to walk in the Rodeo Parade.

Lesson: Always let someone know where you are going and how long you will be gone.

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