The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

June 25, 2014

Family of missing man organizes search

OTTUMWA — The family of Michael Chrisman, who went missing in the Des Moines River on Monday, has organized a search of their own.

The new search party branches away from law enforcement. According to Theresa Cline, Chrisman's mother-in-law, it is "because we were not getting the support that we felt we should have been getting from the local authorities."

Cline and her family have received support from individuals and businesses alike. "Primarily, our source of assistance has been from the Van Buren County Sheriff's Office," said Cline.

The family has requested all residents with property along the Des Moines River between Wapello and Van Buren counties to check their land.

The family believes Chrisman may have made it to land and fears he is lying unconscious or injured on private property. The search party is unable to check private property, which is why they are reaching out to the community.

Chrisman has been missing since 7:30 p.m. Monday. He entered the river from a rope swing at Cliffland Access in Agency. Search parties have been ongoing since the initial disappearance.

There continues to be overwhelming support from friends and family of Chrisman.

"In the evening times, we usually have between 20 and 30 volunteers and in the day about 40 to 45," said Cline. However volunteers are still needed on the water and on foot. In addition, dogs and horses are needed to aid in the search.

The family would like to thank Ottumwa Hy-Vee for providing water for volunteers and Ottumwa Wal-Mart for providing flashlights, batteries and reflect tape and the community for their aid and efforts.

— To see Danielle Lunsford's Twitter feed, follow @CourierDanielle.

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