The Montrose County Sheriff’s Office is proud to report that missing individual Mr. Robert McLeroy has been found alive off of Highway 141. He was transported to St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction for medical evaluation. Over the past three days, the MCSO has been extensively searching the area of Highway 141, the Uncompahgre Plateau, and any routes leading to Grand Junction following Mr. McLeroy’s disappearance on Monday. Search efforts have included a Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) fixed-wing aircraft, Mesa County Sheriff’s Office assisted by Centurylink helicopter, and several flights by Classic Air Medical helicopters. Today, a large search party containing volunteers and Montrose County Sheriff’s Posse members began searching the area of Highway 141 on foot, kayak, and by vehicle.
Mr. McLeroy’s grandson, Ethan Archer was searching from the San Miguel River in a kayak, while his father Ivan was following above him on Highway 141 in a vehicle. Ethan spotted Mr. McLeroy laying inverted on the river bank and the red Ford Taurus that Mr. McLeroy was driving was with its nose in the river. He immediately notified his father, who then alerted authorities. San Miguel Undersheriff Eric Berg was also a part of the search party and was the first law enforcement officer to arrive on the scene. Undersheriff Berg is a certified paramedic and has extensive experience in search and rescue. Lieutenant McClellan, search party members, and Undersheriff Berg first cut several trees to clear a path and then used ropes and pulleys to access and safely extract Mr. McLeroy from the scene. It is believed that Mr. McLeroy had attempted to get out of the vehicle by climbing the steep cliff to the highway, but fell and was found inverted on the bank. Once rescued, he was transported by a Classic Air Medical helicopter for medical evaluation.
“This is a true miracle,” said Lieutenant William McClellan, who organized today’s search efforts. “Mr. McLeroy is a beloved member of the west end community, and on behalf of the MCSO, I am proud to be able to safely reunite him with his family. I want to recognize the volunteers, deputies, Nucla Naturita Fire & EMS, Montrose County Road and Bridge, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Colorado State Patrol, San Miguel County Undersheriff Berg, Classic Air Medical, and the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office for their assistance.”
“Deputies and search parties have been working around the clock trying to find Mr. McLeroy and I am so thankful our efforts were successful,” said Investigator Travis Thompson, who is the lead investigator on the case. “This is the best case scenario–this 82-year-old man persevered and survived 72-hours in hot temperatures–and we could not have accomplished this without the assistance of our partners.”
The MCSO wishes Mr. McLeroy a speedy recovery. Thank you again to agency and law enforcement partners, community members, and the public for assisting with search efforts.