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Missing man found
The city set up a command center at the Blue Building when the search for Jack Miller intensified Wednesday. Pictured at the post are, from left, Bill Davis, Josh Brock and Scott Norrod.
One of the largest search and rescue missions in McMinnville history came to a happy ending Wednesday night when a 76-year-old who had wandered away from a downtown assisted living facility was found safe and relatively uninjured.“The first thing he asked for was a glass of sweet tea,” said McMinnville Police Chief Bryan Denton.The community had been looking for Jack Miller, an elderly dementia patient, since he walked away from an assisted living facility around 8 a.m. Police, firemen, ambulance personnel, Rescue Squad members, deputies and numerous volunteers combined in the search that first centered around the Barren Fork River and Riverfront and Pepper Branch parks, near where he was last seen.“I think we have walked every river bank, followed every trail and searched every wooded area for miles,” said McMinnville Police Lt. John Morgan of the scores of people who spent the day looking for the missing man.Tension was high to quickly find the man given his age and the fact he is diabetic. Also adding to the worries was the very hot and muggy day which saw highs near 95 degrees, making searchers worry the elderly man might succumb to exposure if he was not found soon.Along with ground crews which fanned out from where the man was last seen, the Sheriff’s Department took to the air as department pilot Travis Thaxton took investigators airborne to search from the sky. Meanwhile, drones were used over the park areas in hopes of finding him.“They flew for about four hours,” said Sheriff Jackie Matheny of the plane that circled the search area, hoping to spot the man from the air.Meanwhile, Rescue Squad members searched from the water, scanning both the river and its banks for any sign of the missing man.