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Man Missing On Squirrel Hunt Found

By Staff | Oct 21, 2015

A Tyler County man, who had been squirrel hunting when he was reported missing Tuesday, was discovered about 24 hours later Wednesday deep in the woods a few miles from his home.

William Neff, 68, of Elk Fork Road near Kidwell, was reported missing late Tuesday, according to the Tyler County Sheriff’s Department.

Neff’s location was reported to authorities around 5:15 p.m. Wednesday in the woods near Wetzel/Tyler Ridge close to Iuka within Tyler County, said Tom Cooper, director of the Tyler County Office of Emergency Management. He said Neff suffered very minor injuries.

Tyler County Sheriff Bob Kendle Jr. said Neff was last seen around 3 p.m. Tuesday near Lonetree outside Middlebourne.

A search began shortly after Neff was reported missing to the sheriff’s department around 11 p.m. Tuesday.

Cooper said Neff was squirrel hunting Tuesday when his all-terrain vehicle got stuck in the mud along a hillside. Neff built a fire to keep warm Tuesday night, he said.

Cooper said the search took a little longer because searchers weren’t able to go through a locked gate on private property that Neff had been able to climb over.

“Without strong evidence, we can’t go on gated private property without permission,” he said.

Cooper said on Wednesday, Neff located a home in the vicinity and asked its residents to contact Tyler County 911 to report his whereabouts. West Virginia Air National guard located Neff’s ATV around the same time. Cooper said a Middlebourne EMS ambulance picked up Neff a short time later. He had minor injuries and refused treatment, Cooper said.

Tyler County Sheriff Department was assisted by West Virginia Air National Guard and State Police, who both provided helicopters, as well as the Tyler County Office of Emergency Management, Middlebourne EMS, and volunteer fire departments from Middlebourne, Sistersville, Shirley and Alma.

Tyler County OEM provided search team managers, horses and special K-9 units with tracking experience.

“From all reports, this was smoothest search that has been done in years,” Cooper said. “All agencies worked together to make this

happen.”