Vaughn Flewelling found to be traveling.

April 14, 2016
Vaughn Flewelling

Vaughn Flewelling

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief. 

LUDINGTON — Missing Hamlin Grocery owner Vaughn Flewelling is safe and has been traveling out of state. The Mason County Sheriff’s Office concluded its investigation on the 47-year-old’s disappearance late Wednesday night after video footage from Muskegon revealed he had boarded a Greyhound bus.

Sheriff Cole said Flewelling’s Lincoln Town Car was found at an apartment complex on Apple Avenue in Muskegon Township. Cole said a man was observed on surveillance video unloading Flewelling’s car for several minutes at the complex Monday morning. The apartment manager reported the car as suspicious Wednesday morning after it had been parked there for two days. Cole said the plate on the car was the plate from the previous owner of the vehicle. The license plate registered to Flewelling was on one of his other vehicles at his Victory Township residence. Apparently he had never changed the plates when he bought the car a few months ago. The man on the video at the apartment could not be identified as Flewelling. However, video at a nearby gas station showed the same man, but he still could not be identified. The man was then seen walking to another gas station. That time, it was clearly Flewelling, Cole said.

From there, it was discovered that Flewelling boarded a Greyhound bus heading to Grand Rapids. From Grand Rapids, he headed out of state.

Sheriff Cole said the case to find Flewelling had been the sheriff’s office’s top priority since the business owner failed to open his business Monday morning. He had been last seen locally by an employee after Flewelling closed the store Sunday at 10 p.m. Cole said the case of Flewelling’s disappearance is no longer a criminal matter.

“As part of living in a free society, we have the right to travel as we please,” Cole said. “Vaughn has not broken any laws and we are concluding our investigation into his disappearance as a criminal matter. We live in a very compassionate community and the people here care deeply for each other. This was proven by the large amount of people who came out to offer to help find Vaughn and we here at the sheriff’s office appreciate that.”

The family of Vaughn Flewelling would like to thank everyone in the community and beyond that has supported us during this difficult time,” said Vaughn’s sister-in-law, Jen Flewelling via Facebook. “We would especially like to thank the Mason County Sheriff Department for their endless hours of hard work. As we now know, Vaughn has voluntarily left to cope and sort out a difficult time in his life. As a family, we thank God for many answered prayers that Vaughn is safe. We wish Vaughn the very best and we look forward to his return.”

Cole thanked the Muskegon Township Police Department and Muskegon Police Department for their assistance.