Search for missing Peabody man remains open

The search for a 57-year-old Peabody man missing from Peabody Health and Rehabilitation continues, but local authorities said a broader search in the county ended last week.

Posters identifying Gale (Ralph) Keilman were posted in many storefronts throughout the county after he went missing Aug. 17.

Peabody Police Chief Bruce Burke said Monday the case remains open and ongoing.

?(The investigation) will remain that way until he is found,? Burke said. ?We are following up on leads and bits of information as it comes in.?

The search

Marion County Sheriff Rob Craft said Thursday his office will continue to assist Peabody police if requested, and he also provided some details about the search.

?On Monday (Aug. 17) at about 10:30 p.m., sheriff?s officers were notified by the Peabody Police Department of a missing person,? Craft said. ?(Keilman) reportedly climbed a fence and left the nursing home.?

After leaving the facility, Craft said, the man was on foot wearing a dark shirt and grey shorts.

Law enforcement officials from the sheriff?s office and Peabody attempted to locate Keilman the night he left and into the early morning hours on Tuesday (Aug. 18) with no success.

After the rain on Tuesday, Craft said his office and others looked in accessible areas, but the effort was unsuccessful.

?Wednesday, Peabody Police Chief Burke asked if we could assist with a ground search of the area surrounding Peabody,? he said. ?Six on-duty and off-duty sheriff?s office personnel responded to assist.?

According to Craft, the area surrounding Peabody for five or six miles in each direction was checked, including creeks, bridges, railroad trestles, outbuildings and other areas.

?The search was called off at dark,? he said.

Craft said there were rumors about where Keilman went, but most were dispelled.

?Chief Burke advised me the only thing he can confirm is the last sighting was on Third Street in Peabody near the facility just after he climbed the fence.?

Burke said additional details about Keilman?s disappearance aren?t being released at this time.

Huge undertaking

Burke said more than 50 people took part in the search Wednesday, which included 182 miles and 21 miles of railroad right-of-way.

Burke said he wanted to thank all the agencies that assisted. Those included the Kansas Highway Patrol ground units, KHP fixed wing aircraft, the sheriff?s office, the fire departments in Florence, Marion, Hillsboro and Peabody, Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, civilian personnel and Peabody police officers.

Keilman is a white male and doesn?t speak, but will attempt to communicate by writing or signing.

Anyone with information about Keilman?s whereabouts is asked to call Burke at 620-983-2133 or 911.

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