Missing man Robert McLeroy was found Thursday morning, when his grandson, who was searching from the San Miguel River in a kayak, spotted the 82-year-old Nucla man on the river bank and his vehicle nose-down in the river.
According to a Montrose County news release, the grandson, Ethan Archer, called out to his father, Ivan, who was trailing him from above on Colorado 141; Ivan promptly alerted the Montrose County Sheriff’s Office, which with volunteers and multiple other agencies, had been searching for McLeroy since he was last seen Monday morning, apparently en route to Grand Junction.
“This is a true miracle,” MCSO Lt. Bill McClellan said, in a statement provided in the Montrose County news release prepared by Media Relations Manager Katie Yergensen. McClellan had organized Thursday’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,” McClellan said.
San Miguel County Undersheriff Eric Berg, who is also a paramedic and has extensive experience in search and rescue, was the first member of law enforcement to arrive at McLeroy’s location. With McClellan and searchers, Berg cut several trees to clear a path and then used ropes and pulleys to access and remove McLeroy from the scene.
Authorities believe McLeroy had tried to get out of his Ford Taurus by climbing the steep cliff back up to the highway, but fell and was found inverted on the river bank.
Classic Air Medical helicopter flew him away for medical evaluation.
“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 was the lead investigator, also per the news release.
“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.”
McClellan recognized the volunteers, deputies, posse members, Montrose County Road and Bridge, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the Colorado State Patrol, San Miguel County Berg, Classic Air Medical and the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office for their help.
With its partners, the MCSO had spent three days scouring the area of Colorado 141, the Uncompahgre Plateau and other routes that could have taken McLeroy to Grand Junction.
The efforts included a CPW fixed-wing aircraft, Mesa County Sheriff’s Office, assisted by a CenturyLink helicopter and several flights by Classic Air Medical helicopters.
The MCSO in its news release wished McLeroy a speedy recovery and reiterated its thanks to law enforcement partners, community members and the public.
Robert McLeroy, missing from the Nucla area since Monday, was found alive this morning, Montrose County Undersheriff George Jackson said.
McLeroy, 82, was found off Colorado 141 at about mile marker 70.5. Further information and details are pending at this time.