CREIGHTON, Neb. — After nearly a week, a Creighton, Nebraska, man remains missing despite an exhaustive search which has spread to several states.
Leroy Doerr was last seen around 6 p.m. Friday at his home east of Creighton. Since then, family and friends have had no contact with him. His vehicle remained at the house.
On Wednesday night, the public was invited to join members of the Golgotha Lutheran Church of rural Wausa, Nebraska, for a prayer service for “Leroy Doerr and the Lost.”
An Endangered Missing Advisory was activated as Doerr reportedly suffers from memory loss. While efforts have turned up empty so far, Knox County Sheriff Don Henery said authorities will continue their search for Doerr.
“We want the family to know that we haven’t given up, and we’re not giving up,” he told the Press & Dakotan.
Doerr is described as a 53-year-old white male, 6-foot-5 and 165 pounds, with brown hair and green eyes. He has gone without his medication since he was last seen.
Law enforcement agencies, first responders and volunteers have teamed up to conduct the search. Footprints were found in a cornfield near his house, so the search was intensified in the area.
“We’ve been in full blast all the way through, from the moment we were first notified by the family,” Henery said. “The Nebraska State Patrol has been heavily involved, and Yankton Area Search and Rescue was brought in with its (canine unit). We used a helicopter from the Nebraska State Patrol and drones from Pierce (Nebraska) on Saturday, and we’ve had all sorts of other help from county emergency managers, first responders, police departments and others.”
In addition, the general public has stepped forward to provide valuable manpower, Henery said.
“As of (Monday), we had 80-plus volunteers from as far away as Oakland and Neligh, Nebraska,” he said. “They were walking five or six rows apart and covered it the best they could.”
The search has been hampered by trying to cover 1,040 rows of corn in the field, with a large acreage of irrigated fields.
“The problem is, you’re dealing with irrigated cornfield that is so thick,” he said “I was up on the highway overlooking the field, and we had people walking into the cornfield who had reflective clothes, and it was hard to see them even with the reflection.”
The thick cornfield also created problems for the drones, cameras, helicopter and even the canine unit, the sheriff said.
“A cornfield is very hard for a search,” he said. “The dog handlers were telling me that cornfields don’t allow for a lot of scent.”
The search has widened since the beginning, Henery said.
“The Endangered Missing Advisory is the adult version of an Amber Alert,” he said. “It went across the Midwest, and people have seen it several states away. We’re just not getting many phone calls or sightings.”
Some leads have turned up dead ends, he said. “We’ve gotten calls from people who thought it was him, but we go back over the surveillance tapes and rule him out.”
Henery has made one firm determination. “I have absolutely no indication of foul play,” he said.
Doerr’s sister last had contact with him around 6 p.m. Friday but received no response when she tried to reach him around 8 a.m. Saturday, Henery said.
“You think about the amount of time he could have walked down a road,” the sheriff said. “He could have covered several miles during that time.”
In addition, the possibility remains Doerr could have received a ride.
Farmers have been asked to watch their fields and ditches for any clues as they continue with harvest, the sheriff said.
Henery put out a special plea for the Yankton area.
“His family said he liked to go to rummage sales, garage sales and Goodwill stores and he loved to go to Yankton for those things,” the sheriff said. “As far as we know, he may have headed for Yankton, and we’re asking people in that area to be on the lookout for Leroy.”
The participating agencies in the search have included the Knox County Sheriff’s Department, Creighton Police Department, Nebraska State Patrol, Creighton Fire Department, Plainview Fire Department, Wausa Fire Department, Pierce Fire Department and Nebraska Game & Parks.
In addition, the search party has included family, friends and neighbors.
The search could take new turns, depending on information, Henery said.
“We’re got some ideas for the search,” the sheriff said. “We’re going to keep pursuing this.”
Anyone with information about Doerr or his whereabouts should contact 911 or the Knox County Sheriff’s Office at (402) 288-4261.
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