Missing Man In Mariposa: Technology Helps Searchers
By Liz Gonzalez
Whether crews are on horseback, in SUV's, on foot, or in helicopters, all hands are on deck in the search for a missing man in Mariposa County. Loved ones last saw 78-year-old Folker "Karl" Sehmsdorf Tuesday afternoon, around 4 p.m. outside his home along Highway 49, near Watt and Kemble roads. "He's a walker, he's a climber," says Michelle Edwards, a caretaker for Sehmsdorf's family. "But his mind is not that great anymore." Edwards says Sehmsdorf went out for a walk. While that doesn't sound like a big deal, Sehmsdorf has dementia and alzheimer's. Edwards says Sehmsdorf knows every inch of his property that covers nearly 70 acres, but, "he's been deteriorating. In the last month, it's gotten worse. We've had to keep an eye on him." Things got to the point that his family had him fitted with a bracelet that helps track his movements. It's registered with the Mariposa County Sheriff's Department, as part of Operation Lifesaver. It sends out a signal, that hand-held antennas can pick up. "It's been a very successful tool for us," says Sgt. Jeremy Briese. "If we get a ping with the device, we can then concentrate in that specific area and search that area for better probable detection." Briese says that volunteers with the department replace the batteries on the bracelet every month, to assure that they are in working order. While there were faint pings, none have led to Sehmsdorf so far. If he doesn't turn up by Thursday morning, more crews are expected to join the search from across the Central Valley. "His wife is waiting for him to come home, we've done all we can," says Edwards. "I've hiked all over looking for him. We need him back." Sehmsdorf is 5'11" and weighs 160 lbs. He has hazel eyes and gray hair. He was last seen wearing a tan jacket, blue shirt and tan pants. If you have any information, call the Mariposa County Sheriff's Office at 209-966-3615.
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