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Touby’s Run case: Man still missing after year
MANSFIELD — A year ago, a panic-stricken Gary Warner jumped into the rain-swollen waters of Touby’s Run.
His body was never found.
Wednesday marked the one-year anniversary of the incident.
“There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about my brother,” said Sandy Warner, his sister. “We just want him home.”
Gary Warner, 56, stayed at an assisted-living facility at 141 N. Walnut St. He was reported missing by employees of the Center for Individual and Family Services after he failed to show up for an appointment.
Warner previously struggled with addiction problems, but had been sober for eight years, his sister said. He also dealt with schizophrenia.
On the night in question, city police Officer Terry Butler saw Warner riding a bicycle behind the former Ohio Brass building in the area of a closed business. Butler tried to talk to the man because of several scrap metal thefts.
Warner dropped his bike and ran toward Touby’s Run during a torrential downpour. Butler did not see him go in the water, but heard him calling for help.
Sandy said her brother had an unnatural fear of police.
“The thing about Gary is he can’t swim and he’s afraid of water,” she said.
Sandy said her brother also would have been reluctant to give up his bike.
Police walked the banks of the creek and were posted along bridges to see if they could find anyone being swept downstream. The Richland County Dive Team could not search because of the high, fast-moving water. Weather conditions were too bad to allow an Ohio Highway Patrol helicopter to take flight.
The next day, troopers in a helicopter with a thermal imaging unit scanned a 4- to 5-mile area to Illinois Avenue with no results. Cadaver dogs also searched.
Months went by without any word. Eventually, the Center notified Warner’s family that it needed his apartment. Sandy, who lives in Arizona, and her two other brothers spent a day in April going through Warner’s belongings, which included his artwork and family photos.
Sandy listened to Warner’s answering machine and discovered a number of messages from people concerned for her brother.
While she was here, Sandy went to the scene of her brother’s disappearance.
“I needed to see where the incident took place and try to process it,” she said. “There was still a piece of yellow caution tape on the tree. It kind of made me more upset.”
Brian Warner, another brother who lives in Mansfield, followed Touby’s Run to Pleasant Hill in his own search.
“It’s kind of hard to believe that not a thread of his clothing was ever found,” Sandy said. “You’d think with all that brush, a garment would catch on it.”
City police Capt. Marijan Grogoza said the case is still open and that Warner’s name will be added to national law enforcement databases.
“If he turns up later, he can still be identified,” she said.
Grogoza said she feels for Warner’s family.
“It’s so sad that he’s never been found,” she said.
Sandy said not knowing where Warner is has taken a heavy toll on the whole family. She asks people who live along Touby’s Run to check their property.
“He’s somewhere,” Sandy said.
If this wan anyone else, would they have tried harder to find him?
Strange in deed that we are believing the last one to see him since he cannot be found after a year?. He certainly couldn’t have simply disappeared, could he?????