Missing man

Members of the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue team helped locate a missing 74-year-old man Saturday in Mariposa County, three days after the man was last seen outside his home in the Clarks Valley area near Jerseydale, south of Highway 140 and El Portal.

Searchers from Tuolumne County were among about 100 professionally-trained search-and-rescue personnel who responded to the call for help on the search for John Van Dinther, who was located Saturday about two miles from his residence, Mariposa County sheriff’s staff said.

Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office staff shared photos from Saturday and said they showed Tuolumne County SAR team members “comforting John when they found him.”

Van Dinther was last seen walking on Bear Clover Road in the Jerseydale area about noon last Wednesday, Jan. 22. Searchers responded from multiple California counties. They searched on foot and some also used maps, trained dogs, all-terrain vehicles, off road motorcycles, larger motor vehicles, and helicopters to look for Van Dinther.

Mariposa County sheriff’s staff announced shortly after 4 p.m. Saturday that Van Dinther was found safe. They said search teams in the area were calling out Van Dinther’s name and they heard Van Dinther making noises. Searchers continued walking and calling out for Van Dinther until they found him.  

Van Dinther spoke with search team members and his family before he was taken by ambulance to John C. Fremont Hospital in Mariposa to be evaluated by doctors, Mariposa County sheriff’s staff said.

“We would like to give a huge shoutout to our SAR team and volunteers that give countless hours to this community and surrounding communities,” unnamed Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office staff said Monday morning in a social media post. “The difference you all make is undeniable.  A SAR member quote embodies the feeling each team member had the moment John was found, ‘The joy in his eyes........ was worth all the hard work.’”


Contact Guy McCarthy at gmccarthy@uniondemocrat.com or 588-4585. Follow him on Twitter @GuyMcCarthy.

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