Searchers unable to find missing man.

November 3, 2014


By Rob Alway. Editor-in-Chief. 

EDEN TWP. — Searchers spent several hours in the woods Saturday and Sunday attempting to find Leonard Allen Vunck, the 67-year-old Ludington man who has been missing since Wednesday.

Vunck lives at Pineview Apartments on North Washington Ave. On Wednesday, he called a taxi and asked the driver to drop him off on East Hawley Road near Woods Trail, about a mile from Walhalla Road. The taxi driver reported that Vunck was carrying a long gun bag along with a tent and some ammunition, according to Mason County Sheriff Kim Cole. Vunck told the taxi driver he was going hunting with some friends, Cole said.

Vunck reportedly suffers from a mental illness, has high blood pressure and mild dementia, according to Michelle Elliott, the manager at Pineview Apartments. Elliott was one of the people who spent most of the weekend searching for Vunck.

“Yesterday we found the exact spot where the taxi driver dropped him off,” Elliott said. “We found his change bag, dial-a-ride tokens and his hat, which was frozen solid, along with a canteen of water.”

Elliott said about 25 people came to the privately-organized search Sunday. About 50 feet into the woods they found a sleeping bag and what appeared to be a campsite. However, there was no tent. “I found his tent in his apartment,” Elliott said. She said she has never known Vunck to own actual guns. He does own two pellet guns, though, and they are missing from the apartment. He’s lived at the apartment complex since 1993.

Sheriff Cole has been reluctant to send law enforcement personnel into the woods. His biggest concern, he told MCP Saturday, is the report of the gun. Cole said deputies are trained to respond with force when a gun is pointed at them. They would have no way of knowing that he has a pellet gun or an actual gun.

Elliott said she understands the sheriff’s concerns.

“We searched the woods on the north and south side of Hawley Road in a 3 mile radius,” she said. “We are just praying that somebody picked him up and took him somewhere.”

Elliott said two different groups of hunters said they saw Vunck on Friday. One group said he was lying in his sleeping bag alongside the road. When they asked him if he was OK, he said that he was just resting.

“They had no way of knowing that people were searching for him,” she said.

Elliott said she is concerned because Vunck has been off his medication for six days. He has wandered off two other times in the recent past, Cole said. Both times he ended up being found out of state. Elliott said she doesn’t know if there will be any more organized searches for Vunck.

Vunck is a white male, 6-feet tall, 300 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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