Ricky Russell found

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Missing man found after 70-hour search

By Billy Davis

Pat Russell said Monday she knows why her brother Clint Yeargin found her missing husband, Ricky Russell. Because he had to.

Ricky Russell, 57, had been reported missing Tuesday morning by his wife, when he failed to show up at his parents’ home on nearby File Road. The Russells live on Murphy Ridge Road.

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A search was well under way by that afternoon and by Thursday it was clear the missing man, who has Alzheimer’s, was eluding searchers.

“Clint was up at 3 a.m. packing food and water in a backpack, headed for the woods,” she recalled, “He said he wasn’t coming out until he found Ricky.”

Yeargin was dropped off at Friday at 5 a.m. along File Road, where his brother-in-law’s T-shirt had been found the day before.

“When Clint got to the woods, he just sat down and listened,” recalled Yeargin’s sister. At 5:30 he heard noises and shouting, then he heard his brother-in-law yelling, “Help me!”

In the pre-dawn darkness Yeargin had located Ricky Russell, who had eluded searchers, helicopters and search dogs for approximately 70 hours.

It took Yeargin 45 minutes of breaking through thick summer brush, which had entangled his exhausted brother-in-law, to reach him. By mid-morning Ricky Russell was riding in an ambulance that was headed east to Baptist Memorial Hospital in Oxford.

The search was over.

Later on Friday, at an informal debriefing, authorities said Russell was found approximately a mile from where the T-shirt was located.

Authorities also advised Friday that Yeargin, who lives in the Cole’s Point community, wanted to remain anonymous. But his sister had other plans.

“Yes, I want you to use his name,” she told a reporter. “I’m proud of what he did.”

Pat Russell also expressed thanks to the volunteers, many of them untrained, who combed the tick-filled woods and gullies in search of her husband.

“Everybody came together,” she recalled. “It was overwhelming to see the support from our community. God bless the Cole’s Point community.”  

Pat Russell said her husband was released from Baptist Memorial Hospital Saturday at noon.