UPDATE: 10:09 A.M. Friday, September 11th, 2020
(Clarinda) -- "It was not the ending we had hoped for"-- that's how Page County Sheriff Lyle Palmer described the tragic conclusion to a search for a missing Page County man.
Palmer's office confirmed Friday morning that the body of 80-year-old Donald Eugene "Gene" Ripley was found in a vehicle involved in an accident on Interstate 35 just south of Davis, Oklahoma Thursday afternoon. The vehicle involved was a red Chrysler Town and Country Minivan--which is what Ripley was driving when he left his son's residence in Uvalde, Texas a week ago Thursday. An Oklahoma state trooper told the sheriff's office that the vehicle exited I-35 between the 46 and 47 mile markers, traveled down a steep ditch approximately 100 to 150 feet into a group of trees. The minivan then struck one of the trees before coming to rest. The trooper identified an elderly male found deceased in the vehicle as Ripley. Family members were then notified of his location.
During the missing person's search, the sheriff's office and Pagecomm worked closely with several agencies, following up on leads that came into law enforcement agencies, as well as agencies along the possible route that Ripley would have traveled from Uvalde to his residence in Page County. Those agencies included the Texas Rangers, Texas Silver Alert Program, Texas Fusion Center, Denton County, Texas Sheriff’s Office, Texas Highway Patrol, the Como County, Texas Sheriff’s Office, the Spring Branch, Texas Police Department, the Bulverde, Texas Police Department, and the Uvalde County Sheriff’s Office.
Other agencies included the Oklahoma State Patrol, Oklahoma Fusion Center, Oklahoma Turnpike Authority, the Kansas State Patrol, Kansas Fusion Center, Kansas Turnpike Authority, the Clinton County, Missouri Sheriff’s Office, the U.S. Border Patrol, the National Missing & Unidentified Persons system (NamUs), and the Missing Persons Cases Network.
The Oklahoma State Troopers are still investigating the accident.
UPDATE: 5:19 A.M. Friday, September 11th, 2020
(Clarinda) -- New information is expected to be released this (Friday) morning regarding a missing Page County man.
According to a Missing Persons Case Network Facebook post, a silver alert has been canceled for 80-year-old Donald Eugene "Gene" Ripley, as he was found dead. Ripley had been missing since early last Thursday morning, when he left Uvalde, Texas, and had not been seen since. Ripley was last seen driving a red Chrysler Town and Country Minivan, with license plate number HVM-886. The vehicle has no rack on top. Reportedly, the license plate was read in Denton County, Texas, approximately 28 hours after he left Uvalde. Texas authorities issued a silver alert following the initial report of his disappearance.
The Page County Sheriff's Office is expected to release more information regarding Ripley's situation later this (Friday) morning.
ORIGINAL STORY: Thursday, September 10th, 10:15 A.M.
(Clarinda) -- It's been a week since family and friends last saw a missing Page County resident.
A nationwide search continues for Donald Eugene "Gene" Ripley. Ripley has been missing since early last Thursday morning, when he left Uvalde, Texas, and has yet to arrive home, or at any friends or family members' residence. Ripley was last seen driving a red Chrysler Town and Country Minivan, with license plate number HVM-886. The vehicle has no rack on top. Reportedly, the license plate was read in Denton County, Texas, approximately 28 hours after he left Uvalde. Texas authorities issued a silver alert following the initial report of his disappearance. Ripley has been entered in nationwide databases as missing.
On the local level, Pagecomm dispatch sent administrative messages to numerous agencies throughout the southern part of the U.S. for different routes Ripley may have taken. Page County Sheriff Lyle Palmer tells KMA News this missing person's case poses a challenge for his department.
"Unfortunately, it's not like a typical missing person case," said Palmer, "where we can actually get out and do foot searches and cover some area. This last known location is quite a drive away, and it's not feasible for us to try to go down there, and do another jurisdiction search. We're getting information out to every agency that we can think of, possibly doing a lot of other computer media work, and trying to get that done."
Ripley is described as 5-10, approximately 215 pounds with brown eyes and white hair. He has a medical condition requiring daily medication. It's believed the supply he took with him was close to running out, if not gone already. Anyone with information on Ripley's whereabouts should contact the Page County Sheriff's Office at 712-542-5193.