Man missing in woods overnight Saturday

Monday, October 19, 2009 ~ Updated 3:49 PM

DONIPHAN, Mo. -- A Doniphan man is home today after spending part of his weekend lost in the woods in western Butler County while hunting for ginseng.

Mary Davidson told Butler County Sheriff's Department Cpl. Brandon Lowe her 70-year-old husband, Harry Davidson, had gone into a patch of woods off of Route TT at about 11 a.m. Friday.

"Mrs. Davidson stated (her husband) was supposed to meet her at around 6 (p.m.), so that she could take him home," Lowe said in his report.

When Davidson did not return, Lowe said, family members began searching for him.

Assisting in the search initially were Butler County Presiding County Commissioner Ed Strenfel, who Mary Davidson reported knowing, and Rick Sliger, director of the Butler County Emergency Management Agency.

After the Butler County Sheriff's Department was notified at about 8:20 p.m., deputies joined the search on foot and by all-terrain vehicle, according to Assistant Chief Deputy Scott Wiggs, who described the area as being "real rural."

"Mr. Strenfel advised me that there was over 1,200 acres of woods in which Mr. Davidson could possibly be located," Lowe said.

The search continued to nearly 2 a.m. Saturday morning, but due to the terrain and the conditions of the property, Lowe said, Davidson was not found.

The area Wiggs searched, he said, was on private property, but surrounded by national forest. The search resumed at about 6 a.m., Wiggs said. While directing traffic on Route TT, Cpl. Brandon Waggoner reported witnessing Davidson exit the wood line, just south of his location, at 10:18 a.m.

"He appeared to be exhausted, but in good physical shape," Waggoner said in his report.

Davidson told officers the woods had changed after the ice storm with many trees having fallen, Wiggs said.

"He built a fire to stay warm and waited it out until morning and found his way out," Wiggs said.

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