Posted 8/07/13 (Wed)
By Neal A. Shipman
After scouring the rugged Badlands south of Watford City for two weeks for a Hillsboro man who reportedly told family members that he intended to commit suicide, the McKenzie County Sheriff’s Dept. has called off future search efforts.
The McKenzie County Sheriff’s Dept. was notified on Wednesday, July 24, that Duncan James Templer, 51, of Hillsboro, had reportedly told members of his family that he was going to commit suicide in the Badlands. Deputies found the semi truck, which was owned by Trans System of Sidney and Great Falls, Mont., parked in an overlook on the south side of the Badlands, 22 miles south of Watford City.
According to John Fulwider, McKenzie County sheriff, a massive search effort was started on Wednesday, July 24, with nearly 20 North Dakota law enforcement officers involved and included searches by foot, air, ATV and dogs.
“The areas that we searched were extremely rough and difficult for us to cover, even with ATVs and with dogs,” stated Fulwider.
As a last ditch attempt to find Templer, on Wednesday, July 31, members of the Bismarck Mounted Police, a volunteer group of horseback riders, combed two miles of the Badlands. But again, without success.
“We called in the Bismarck Mounted Police in hopes that they would be able to cover a bigger area than we could by foot or ATV,” stated Fulwider.
But, according to Fulwider, last Wednesday’s last ditch effort was really a search and recover effort.
“If he (Templer) is deceased, we want to find him and bring him back to his family for closure,” stated Fulwider.
However, the horseback riders had no better luck than had any of the previous search efforts, and at 4 p.m. on July 31, the search was called off.
“They (the Bismarck Mounted Police) searched as much as they could,” stated Fulwider. “The rugged terrain has really limited our search efforts.”
As a result of this last search effort, and after talking with Templer’s family, as well as Jerry Samuelson, McKenzie County Emergency Services officer and other law enforcement officers, Fulwider stated that the decision was made to end search efforts.
“We have exhausted all our resources and have called off the active search for Mr. Templer in the area that he was known to be in,” stated Fulwider.
Fulwider says that his department is now going to consider Templer as being a missing person and the case will continue to be investigated by the McKenzie County Sheriff’s Dept.