Search for missing Blair man continues in Iowa and along Missouri River

Last seen Wednesday, Ronald Harvey was believed to be hunting mushrooms near wildlife preserves in northeast Nebraska.
Washington County authorities are still searching for a man reported missing while mushroom hunting.
Published: May. 9, 2023 at 5:12 PM CDT
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WASHINGTON COUNTY, Neb. (WOWT) - The sister of a man missing since last week told 6 News on Tuesday that authorities are still searching for him.

Ronald Harvey, 58, of Blair was last seen Wednesday. His family reported him missing the following day.

Authorities from around the area have since been conducting daily searches near DeSoto National Wildlife Preserve. The initial search caused a portion of the preserve to be closed to the public for a few days; but Saturday, that search concluded in the afternoon, allowing the refuge to fully reopen to the public.

“On Saturday we called in more search dogs but were still unable to locate him,” Washington County Sherrif’s Det. Sgt. Brian Beckman said in an email to 6 News.

Harvey’s sister, Myrna Dozier of Missouri Valley, Iowa, told 6 News on Tuesday that several of the man’s siblings were in touch with his apartment manager to verify his last known whereabouts. She said that security photos, which she was told had been taken around noon on Wednesday, showed Harvey leaving alone.

“He was with no one. He was by himself,” she said.

Harvey was last seen wearing a baseball cap, blue jeans, a red T-shirt, and a green flannel shirt. Anyone who might have information about his whereabouts is urged to call 911 and asked not to disturb any potential evidence.

Authorities have ended their search for Ronald Harvey for the day. Desoto Wildlife Refuge (NE side) will be reopening to...

Posted by Washington County Sheriff's Office NE on Saturday, May 6, 2023

Since then, dozens of people and several agencies have participated in searches around wildlife areas near DeSoto National Wildlife Preserve, where Harvey was thought to have gone looking for mushrooms.

Harvey’s sister, Myrna Dozier of Missouri Valley, Iowa, told 6 News on Tuesday that most days, those searches have gone from morning until dark.

“They have found nothing,” she said. “So as of today, they are going into the water with boats.”

She said his car had been found on the Nebraska side of Desoto Bend, and so land-search efforts had been focused there. But now, those efforts have moved over to the Iowa side.

“At this time we feel that we have done a thorough search of the land and are now concentrating our efforts to the river,” Beckman said.

Dozier said she last had contact with her brother via text message about a week ago and that nothing seemed strange at the time.

Describing her brother as a bit of an adventurer, she said it wasn’t unusual for him to turn down a dirt road and see where it led.

The only thing that has seemed odd to her, she said, was his vehicle.

“He would not leave his car there,” she said. “He would have got in it and gone somewhere else.”

Authorities said more than 100 people were out searching for Harvey on Thursday and Friday.

“Searches were made on foot, ATV type vehicles as well as search dogs,” Beckman said. “The refuge and the area immediately surrounding the refuge was searched from the ground, air, and water.”

Many area authorities also assisted in the search, including the Blair Fire Department and police from Fort Calhoun, Ponca Hills, and Omaha, as well as Logan and Missouri Valley in Iowa. OPD Able-1 and LifeNet helicopters have also assisted with the search, which has also included drones from OPD, Blair PD, and the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.

Authorities said last week that they were able to ping the man’s phone in two locations ahead of search efforts but no further leads on his whereabouts have developed.