A Search for a Missing Dallas Man Comes Up Empty

Seventy-year-old Mitchell Buchanan has been missing since October 24. But rescuers haven't given up looking for him.

Over the weekend, there was a search for Mitchell Buchanan, a 70-year-old Dallas man who has been missing since October 24. The Tyler Morning Telegraph reported that about 60 volunteers and members of the United Response Search and Rescue Team -- which has this on its Web site concerning Buchanan and his disappearance -- searched through "miles of densely wooded areas adjoining Interstate 20" early Saturday morning. But it was to no avail: Sheila Holland, assistant director of the Dallas-based United Search and Rescue Team, told Unfair Park that despite getting "quite a bit of ground covered" up and down Interstate 20 and an adjoining road close to where Buchanan's truck was found, they did not find the man who's nicknamed "Pie," who suffers from Alzheimer's and is without his medication or wallet and any form of ID.

There had been other small searches since his truck was found on October 29, but they were small and conducted by the family, which had to relent after it began raining. This was the first substantive search, Holland says. Problem is, they're not quite sure why Holland went missing in the first place: Initially they were told his truck had run out of gas, leading law enforcement officials to believe he went in search of gas, but they were later told by the Smith County Sheriff's Department that there actually was gas in the tank.

"Hospitals and shelters have been called, but the tendency with Alzheimer's patients is they go toward the woods, which is one reason why we searched the woods this weekend," Holland says. "We don't know why. Some search studies and some cases we've worked on show they have the tendency to turn left, and they're drawn to the woods." As for where they'll look next, Holland says, "Well, it's hard. We're going to reach out to the truck drivers in hopes he got a ride. Shreveport's not that far, so there's a possibility maybe he did get a ride there and is in a shelter there. The family did go there to check the hospitals, but our biggest fear is he got a ride."

The United Search and Rescue Team's flier containing Buchanan's vitals and phone numbers for law enforcement officials can be found here. --Robert Wilonsky

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky