A missing Kansas man - David Welch, 54 - has been found, according to a CNN report on Wednesday. Welch reportedly drove his maroon Pontiac Montana van last month for hours from his Manhattan, Kansas home without telling anyone where he was headed. Now, approximately seven weeks later, he has been found by a hitchhiker in an isolated desert patch in Utah – hundreds of miles from his home.
Welch was found injured and trapped inside his van with love letters to his wife and four sons. His vehicle veered off the road and plummeted into a ravine, likely in early September. It is believed he sat in his van for a month or more before being found. During that time, his family had been searching for him but had no clue as to where he had driven. A day after he went missing, relatives contacted local police to report that he had not returned home. The Riley County Police said there was no reason to believe Welch was in danger of harm or had any known-medical issues to cause him to be in danger. They notified law enforcement agencies in areas where it was believed the man may have traveled to, but it wasn’t until four days after he went missing that a missing person’s report had finally been reported.
After a total of 46 days since Welch had left home, on Oct. 18, a hitchhiker spotted the overturned van in a deep ravine along the edge of a road in the wilderness. The road was in a deserted section off Interstate 70 – some 850 miles from the man’s home. Todd Johnson, a spokesperson for the Utah Highway Patrol said that tire tracks did not appear to show that Welch had attempted to turn or apply brakes to the vehicle – but went straight off the road. It is believed that he fell asleep and drove off the road.
It’s unknown how long he lived, as he was found dead at the scene. No one knows why he decided to travel so far away from home.