Missing Men Found Alive in Fayette County
Two men who disappeared along the banks of the Wolf River in Fayette County are recovering this afternoon.
The pair were found around 8 Monday morning by a search crew.
Justin Hanford, 17, and 29-year-old Justin Willingham were last seen at a wedding Saturday night in Grand Junction, TN.
The two were said to have gone geocaching along the Wolf River in LaGrange Tennessee.
Geocaching is a game where people use GPS devices to find hidden treasures or “caches.”
Willingham and Hanford were using an I-phone to navigate their way Saturday, “It dropped in the water and we had no way back,” said Hanford.
Hanford’s mother, Amy, called the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office after she didn’t hear from Cody Sunday morning, “I couldn’t get a hold of him and I couldn’t get a hold of Justin.”
Dozens of family and friends gathered along Main Street in LaGrange while search crews waited until daylight to begin aggressively searching.
A Tennessee Highway Patrol helicopter flew from near Nashville to search from above.
But it was a search crew, including a Fayette County Deputy, and a dog from Search Dogs South who followed the scent of the men.
“We got to a point where we decided it was time to start hollering for them and they answered,” said Paulette Weible from Search Dogs South.
The boys were brought from the woods around 9:30 Monday morning.
They were taken to a local hospital to be treated for dehydration.
Inspector Ray Garcia with the Fayette County Sheriff’s Department says people get lost in the woods about 2-3 times a year, “We have experienced hunters who come out here in the woods, they’ve lived out here their entire life and they get turned around and get lost for hours at a time themselves.”
Garcia said Monday his department is considering removing the geocaching sites along the Wolf River because of the dangerous terrain, “You’ve got poisonous snakes that are out there and the fact that there phones wouldn’t pick up in certain areas. You can’t get a GPS signal and the tree coverage is so thick out helicopters were having trouble spotting them.”
Willingham is an on-air radio personality for WKNO.
Hanford is a well-known actor who has appeared on Broadway as well in movies like “Walk The Line” and “Hounddog.”