More agencies means more resources in search for missing SD hunter

DEERFIELD, S.D. – A hunter from Howard has been missing since Tuesday. The Pennington County Sheriff’s Office and nearly two dozen other agencies have been out battling the elements and working tirelessly to bring Larry Genzlinger, 66, home.

The large number of agencies carries a wider variety of resources that can be used in the process.

Genzlinger was last seen on a hunting trip with his nephew. He was reported missing after failing to return to a meet up point.

“We have a last known point and we’re trying to cover the ground in that area the best that we can,” said Lt. Dustin Morrison with the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office.

The command center sits deep in the hills. Communication to and from the city is tough but that’s where the 82nd Civil Support Team with the Air Force comes in. They provide cell service and internet to crews working in the field.

When the teams head out, they head northeast from 6 Mile and Ditch Creek Roads. They’re putting boots on the ground from multiple fire agencies all across western South Dakota. Other ground support comes from dog teams from the northern Black Hills and horseback riders with the Black Hills Back Country Horsemen.

Each person scouring the hills carries a GPS device to map each step they take along the way to help eliminate searched areas.

“Ground searches are number one,” said Morrison. “We make sure we have adequate ground searches to cover the area and then we will try to use aircraft at points in time when the weather allows.”

Earlier in the week, snowfall hindered air searches. By Friday, both a helicopter from the South Dakota National Guard and a Civil Air Patrol drone were in use. Both aircraft equipped with forward looking infrared or  “FLIR” which shows heat sources on the ground.

The drone can also take normal pictures, thousands of pictures that are each gone through one by one.

“It just takes a lot of time, ” said Morrison. “They put their images on the bigger screen and have other people look at them as well and see if there’s anything that stands out that could be a point of interest for us.”

A lot of time and people to bring Larry back home to his family.

“We want to ultimately bring some answers to the family, that’s priority number one and that’s why we’re out here and will continue to be out here to resolve this matter and give them some answers,” said Morrison.

According to Morrison, the agencies involved in Friday’s search are as follows: The Pennington County Sheriff’s Office, Pennington County Search & Rescue, Blackhawk Volunteer Fire Department, State Wildland Fire, U.S. Forest Service, South Dakota Wildland Fire, Rochford Volunteer Fire Deparment, Battle Creek Volunteer Fire Department, Hill City Volunteer Fire Department, Whispering Pines Volunteer Fire Department, Wall Fire Department, Oglala Sioux Tribe Emergency Management, Civil Air Patrol, Pennington County Fire, Black Hills Back Country Horsemen, 82nd Civil Support Team, South Dakota National Guard.

Other agencies involved in previous days include: Custer County Search and Rescue, Rockerville Volunteer Fire Department, New Underwood Volunteer Fire Department, Silver City Volunteer Fire Department, Johnson Siding Volunteer Fire Department, Piedmont Volunteer Fire Department, and Weston County Search and Rescue.

Categories: Local News