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Grand Forks man still missing on third day of searching in Walsh County

WHITMAN, N.D. -- A second day of searching has not brought home a Grand Forks hunter who went missing Saturday in Walsh County. Law enforcement suspended the search for Travis Wade Vorachek, 45, Sunday evening and asked for volunteers Monday as t...

Travis Wade Vorachek
Travis Wade Vorachek

WHITMAN, N.D. -- A second day of searching has not brought home a Grand Forks hunter who went missing Saturday in Walsh County.

Law enforcement suspended the search for Travis Wade Vorachek, 45, Sunday evening and asked for volunteers Monday as they continued their search.

Vorachek overturned four-wheeler was found near the junction of Walsh County Road 19 and 112th Avenue Northeast, about 10 miles northwest of Whitman.

“We certainly will not turn away any volunteers,” Walsh County Sheriff Ron Jurgens said as he prepared to brief a group of searchers at the Lankin Fire Hall shortly after 8 a.m. “We ask that anyone that volunteers to bring their hip waders and any personal flotation devices they have.”

The swampy area being searched is pockmarked by low-lying potholes that are thick with cattails and other vegetation.

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Vorachek was supposed to meet his father Saturday morning for deer hunting but failed to show, prompting a search that brought out about 125 people the first day and nearly 400 the second.

Dozens of volunteer vehicles lined a hillside and were parked on approaches near the search area Sunday. The volunteers, most wearing bright orange, could be seen walking in lines through fields and around sloughs.

Search crews were concentrating on an area where he overturned the four-wheeler. Jurgens said they have expanded out about 5 miles from that location.

The area being searched is thick with cattails and has numerous bodies of water, slowing progress.

"There are a lot of areas to be searched and a lot of swampy areas so it's taken a lot of time to get through these areas," Jurgens said. "It's very tough walking. The searchers are getting through as much as they can."

From above, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection helicopter surveyed the area, dipping low over ponds and other places volunteers could not get to on foot or by ATV.

Jurgens requested Sunday nearby property owners search their buildings and land. Hunters who may be in the area also are asked to keep an eye out for anything that could lead officers to Vorachek, who was last heard from by his wife around 8 p.m. Friday. Since the search began, crews have found his pickup, his overturned all-terrain vehicle and a stocking cap.

Vorachek is described as weighing 160 pounds and being of thin build, Jurgens said. He also has short dark brown hair, a full beard, blue eyes, no piercings, no glasses and no tattoos. Vorachek was last seen wearing dark clothes and camouflage bib overalls.

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At this time, there is no reason to suspect foul play may be a factor in Vorachek's disappearance, Jurgens said.

Of concern is the fall cold, with temperatures in the area predicted to slide below freezing Sunday night. Temperatures in the area fell below freezing late Friday night and into Saturday morning, according to the National Weather Service. Overnight weather conditions Saturday into Sunday saw partly cloudy weather with temperatures dipping into the low 30s.

In addition to the Grand Forks County Sheriff's Office's unmanned aircraft and water rescue units, Jurgens said tracking dogs from Fargo were part of weekend search efforts.

Search volunteers are still needed and can meet starting at 8 a.m. today at the fire hall in Lankin, N.D., to receive further instructions.

Volunteers should dress in layers with bright colors -- blaze orange is preferred -- and carry a charged cellphone, according to the Sheriff's Department. Searchers may bring an ATV if they have one available.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Walsh County Sheriff's Department at (701) 352-2041.

 

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Related Topics: HUNTINGWALSH COUNTY
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