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Forum Communications, Published August 22 2012

Sister asks volunteers to hold off in search for missing Detroit Lakes man

DETROIT LAKES, Minn. - Family members are asking volunteers to hold off for a while on a search party being organized by a friend of a missing Detroit Lakes man.

The Roseau County Sheriff's Office is not yet ready to ask for volunteers in the search for Donny Dugger, according to his sister, Diana Dugger.

Donny Dugger’s vehicle was found near the Winner Silo in the Beltrami State Forest on Aug. 11. He has not been seen since.

Friends of the missing man put out a call for volunteers to come help with the search, and set an 8:30 a.m. Thursday meeting date in Warroad.

But Diana Dugger said it is an unofficial search effort not organized by the Roseau County Sheriff’s Office and volunteers should stay home for now.

The thick terrain is not suitable for a “walk-though” type search, there is no cell phone coverage at all in the area, and the sheriff’s department is concerned that volunteers will get lost, or make it more difficult for tracking dogs to do their work, she said.

“We’re talking about an 80-mile by 60-mile area that he may or may not be in,” she said. “He may have been picked up by somebody.”

She said the search was organized by Dugger’s friend, Jeffery Olds, who is not on the scene and is “acting out of emotion.”

Olds said he believes volunteers who show up will be put to work. "There will be leaders out there to help — we're not just sending people to get lost in the woods and have more lost souls."

And with time running short, he said "this is kind of the last-ditch effort, Thursday to Sunday."

No one was available for comment at the Roseau County Sheriff’s Office late Wednesday afternoon, but Becker County Sheriff Tim Gordon confirmed that the volunteer search effort was not sanctioned by the Roseau County Sheriff’s Office.

Donny Dugger apparently left his vehicle after it became stuck about a mile northeast of the Winner Silo in Beltrami State Forest.

He apparently walked south out to the Winner Forest Road near the Elkwood Cemetery.

Roseau County Sheriff Steve Gust asks anyone who may have given a ride to Dugger or who has any other information to call (218) 463-1421.