Officials End Search for 82 Year Old Missing Man - Community Forms Their Own Search Crew

By KBJR News 1

August 12, 2013 Updated Aug 12, 2013 at 6:38 PM CDT


The Cook County Sherriff's Department has suspended its search for missing 82 year old Paul Brandt of Grand Marais.
Undeterred, the Grand Marais Community has banned together to form their own search party and bring Brandt home.

Officials withdrew their crews and suspended the search for Paul Brandt at approximately 2:30 Tuesday afternoon, 5 days into the search.

"We were told that they felt like they had run out of their resources," says Bevery Starnel, Brandt's neice.

Approximately 50 people from the area marched through the rough and winding roads of the Gunflint Trail from 9 to 5 pm Wednesday.
Of the volunteers included Sarah Hamilton, owner of the Trail Center and her employees. Hamilton closed shop during the peak of her season to help search for Brandt.

"We probably do 500 people a day for breakfast lunch and dinner at this time. This is definitely the busiest time of the season so even losing one day is alot of money but obviously it's a good cause," says Jenna Johnson, a server at Trail Center.

"She said she was going to close her shop at Trail Center until we were able to bring Paul home and...that's a huge sacrifice," says Starnel.

Brandt is a third generation Grand Marais resident and those that know him describe him as quiet and kind. He had the type of personality to unity a community, despite the rough and rugged terrain of the Gunflint Trail.

"It's just alot of up and down, alot of rocks.It's really thick brush right now so you really can't see your footing and there's alot of downed trees from the fire," says Adam Mella, a cook at Trail Center.

Their timeline is undetermined, but for now...the search go on.

"I think that until we bring him home we're gunna be looking," Starnel adds.

The crew has a large amount of ground to cover and is seeking the help of more volunteers for their search.

Volunteer searchers are requested to meet at the Nor'Western Lodge on the Gunflint Trail tomorrow at 9am.

Posted to the web by Gabrielle Ware