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Staff report, Published August 07 2009

Authorities ask for help in search for Staples, Minn., man who has been missing for three weeks

STAPLES, Minn. - Peter Achermann has been missing for more than two weeks. Authorities, family and friends have been searching every day since without any success and are getting tired. Two Minnesota legislators Thursday asked for search assistance from the Minnesota National Guard.

Acherman, 82, of rural Staples, has been missing since July 24 when he was traveled to Staples on family errands. He was last seen at Ernie’s Food Store in Staples the afternoon of July 24. He also visited the Lakewood Health System Hospital in Staples that afternoon.

He was scheduled to attend a wedding groom's dinner the night he went missing and a granddaughter's wedding the following day. He never appeared at either family event.

His disappearance is out of character for him, according to his family. He has always called if he was going to be late for any reason, said Delaine Achermann, his wife of 56 years.

The car he was driving was found July 25 stuck on a dead-end minimum maintenance road in Cass County's Becker Township, located about six miles northeast of Staples.

The search for Achermann is now in its 15th day.

The Achermann search has not found any new significant clues since locating his car July 25 on a remote minimum-maintenance road in Becker Township. The search area is nearly 25 miles southwest of Ackermann’s rural farm located north of Leader.

Family and friends have been searching every day – rain or shine. They are searching through heavy woods, thick brush and swampland of Becker Township. It is a tiring and heart-wrenching search.

State Representatives John Ward, DFL-Brainerd, and Al Doty, DFL-Royalton, wrote a letter to Gov. Tim Pawlenty requesting assistance from the Minnesota National Guard. They believe the Guard assistance will help make the search more effective and bring fresh searchers to the effort. The number of search volunteers, which numbered hundreds in the early days of the search effort, has declined this week.

The Achermann family just wants to find Peter and bring him home. Peter and Delaine Achermann have 11 children, 21 grandchildren, 15 great grandchildren and 13 foster children.

Authorities have expanded the geographic search area this week to a 3-mile radius around the location where Achermann's abandoned car was found. Multiple search dog teams are working sectors of the search area every day.

Achermann is a white man, about 5-foot-9, 175 pounds, has a gray beard, and generally walks with a cane. He did not have dementia or Alzheimer’s.

Anyone who has seen Achermann or knows of his whereabouts is asked to call the Cass County Sheriff's Department immediately at (800) 450-2677 or (218) 547-1424.

The Achermann search continues today. Individuals wishing to assist in the Achermann search should call (218) 547-1424.