Sheriff explains why search parties are not searching for missing man.

November 1, 2014


Mason County Sheriff Kim Cole said he is concerned about finding Leonard Allen Vunck, the Ludington man who has been missing since Wednesday. However, Cole has been reluctant to organize search parties for Vunck because the 67-year-old with a history of mental illness was last seen carrying what was described as a long gun.

On Wednesday, Vunck called up a taxi that took him from his Ludington home to Eden Township. The taxi driver dropped him off in the area of Hawley Road between Indian Trails and Wood Trail. Vunck was also carrying ammunition and a tent and told the taxi driver he was going hunting with some friends. Cole said friends of Vunck say they believe the gun is a pellet gun.

“My concern is the gun,” Cole said. “I cannot put the lives of deputies and other rescuers at risk if this man has a gun. In addition, he has been reported to be off his medication.”

Cole said the sheriff’s office has been patrolling the roads in that area and the K-9 unit was out in the vicinity today. However, an organized search party is just too risky at this time.

“The safety of the first responders must always come first. That’s always the first rule of emergency services,” Cole said.

Cole said there have also been some conflicting reports of where Vunck may be. “We had someone call today who said they may have seen him on Hawley Road near Walhalla Road at 6 p.m. Friday. That’s 1.5 miles from where he was dropped off. That area, which is mostly national forest, is a large area to cover out there. I want to find Mr. Vunck and I am concerned about his safety.”

Cole added that Vunck has disappeared two other times in recent times. Once he was eventually found in Indiana and the other time he was in Florida.

Vunck is a white male, 6-feet tall, 230 pounds with grey hair and hazel eyes.  It is unknown what clothing he was wearing.

Anyone seeing Mr. Vunck is asked to contact the Mason/Oceana 911 Center at 231-869-5858.

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