Intense search continues for endangered missing 79-year-old man with dementia

Joseph Mindelli Photo credit Lapeer County Sheriff

(WWJ) A search has resumed by land and by air for an elderly man who disappeared three days ago in Lapeer County.

Hundreds of volunteers have joined the search for 79-year-old Joseph "Joe" Mindelli. who was last seen in the area of Rochester and Casey roads in Dryden Township around 7:30 a.m. Monday.

He went out for his daily walk, according to authorities, and never returned home. He may be wearing knee-high rubber boots and cargo style pants, according to the Lapeer County Sheriff’s Office.

Local news station WNEM reported that family, friends, and neighbors as well as authorities from the Dryden Township Fire Department, Lapeer County Sheriff’s Office, Metamora Township Police Department, and Almont Police Department worked together in the initial search.

Thermal imaging, aerial drones, ATVs, and K9s were used without results.

After a two days with no sigh of the missing man, the sheriff’s office Tuesday night requested help from the Oakland County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Team (SSRT) and OCSO Aviation Unit.

OCSO deployed a helicopter, but didn't find the man, and was relieved by local search and rescue teams Wednesday morning.

On Thursday, Mindelli's daughter, Kristyn Theobald, said they were looking for more help with the ground search through some rough terrain.

"(It's) heavily wooded; lots of thick brush," she told WWJ's Beth Fisher. "Those are the fields that we've been going through. The helicopters are flying over, but they can only see, you know, the open fields and open areas. But the rest is all woods that we've been going through and combing by foot."

Issuing an Endangered Missing Advisory for Mindelli, Michigan State Police said he is in the beginning stages of dementia and suffers from other chronic conditions.

Theobald said she's sick to her stomach and just wants to find her dad, who she said has depression and anxiety.

Mindelli does live with his wife, who Theobald said is holding up.

Anyone who sees this missing man is asked to call 911 immediately.