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Front Page » October 22, 2013 » Emery County News » Missing Kansas man found near Moore cut-off road on I-70
Published 366 days ago

Missing Kansas man found near Moore cut-off road on I-70


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By PATSY STODDARD

A vehicle from Kansas was found Oct. 18 in a ravine at mile post 113 on I-70. The Utah Highway Patrol and the Emery County Sheriff's Office rescue team went to the site to investigate. The vehicle was spotted by a hitchhiker walking along I-70. Trooper Gary Riches said he received the call about the vehicle at 10 a.m. He continued to the site where he discovered the person within the vehicle to be deceased.

An investigation ensued to determine the cause of the crash afterwhich the vehicle was pulled from the ravine by Green River towing.

Trooper Riches gave the license plate number to dispatch and they discovered the man in the vehicle was 54 year old David Welch of Manhatten, Kan. Welch had been missing from Kansas since Sept. 2 at 8:30 p.m.

As Welch traveled along I-70 he apparently fell asleep at the wheel and went off the road. He was approximately 75 feet off the road and down a steep embankment. The vehicle was not visible by passing traffic. A notebook found at the scene by Sgt. Dusty Butler contained information about the crash. Welch was not killed on impact and he had written that he was suffering from a broken leg and hip and couldn't get out of the vehicle. Welch tried flashing his lights on and off at night to try to draw attention to his plight until the battery of the vehicle lost power. The notebook also contained messages to Welch's family members.

In a Twitter message posted over the weekend, Welch's wife, Kelly, said: "Dave was entrapped in the vehicle down the 80 foot ravine, he wrote each of us a love note. He knew he was dying and there was no way out." Kelly Welch also posted messages of thanks to the Kansas community supporting her family.

The Riley County Police Department in Kansas was contacted by the Utah Highway Patrol in reference to a single vehicle fatality accident involving a maroon in color Pontiac Montana van. The fatality accident reportedly occurred on Interstate Highway 70 approximately 47 miles west of Green River, Utah. Utah Highway Patrol was able to positively identify the deceased driver and sole occupant of the Pontiac Montana van as missing Manhattan resident David Welch.

The Riley County Police Department had been conducting an investigation into the missing man's whereabouts since his reported disappearance on Sept. 3. Evidence located at the scene indicates the accident occurred on Sept. 3, but was not discovered due to the vehicle's location being at the bottom of a ravine that could not be seen by highway traffic.

On Oct. 1, regarding the investigation into missing person, David Welch, the Riley County Police Department conducted a search of areas both in and outside of their jurisdiction. Twenty law enforcement personnel, including several members of the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks spent Oct. 1 conducting searches of areas that would be accessible to Welch. These searches did not turn up any evidence that would suggest the location of this missing person.

Investigators throughout the investigation did not believe Welch to be the victim of foul play.

On Sept. 2, 2013 at approximately 8:30 p.m., David Welch, 54, of Manhattan, Kansas left his home in a maroon Pontiac Montana van with Kansas license plates without expressing where he was going to friends and family. Riley County Police were contacted and when made aware, checked areas around Manhattan for Welch but were unsuccessful in locating him. At the time of the initial call to police, there was no reason to believe that he was in danger.

On Sept. 3, 2013, we were contacted by Welch's family and informed that he had not returned home. At this time officers confirmed that there was no reason to believe Welch was currently in danger of harm or had known medical issues that may cause him to be in danger. Riley County Police notified law enforcement agencies in areas around the country where it was possible that Welch may have gone. A police information report for missing persons was filed on Sept. 6. Riley County Police briefed the local media of the filing of this report on Sept. 9.



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