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Published October 24, 2011, 04:06 PM

Family Searching For Missing ND Man

JAMESTOWN, N.D. - A missing 74-year-old man from Riverdale was supposed to stop through Jamestown last weekend before he headed south for the winter, according to information from the McLean County Sheriff’s Department.

By: Ben Rodgers, Jamestown Sun

JAMESTOWN, N.D. - A missing 74-year-old man from Riverdale was supposed to stop through Jamestown last weekend before he headed south for the winter, according to information from the McLean County Sheriff’s Department.

Ronald Lee Johnson was supposed to visit his son in Jamestown on Oct. 15. From there he was to visit his sister in Valley City on Oct. 16, and he had a medical appointment at the VA Hospital in Fargo on Oct. 17.

He failed to appear at any of the destinations. Family members haven’t heard from him.

For the past 10 years or so Johnson has visited his sister, Carmen Freehauf, in Valley City before he headed south to the Needles, Calif., area for the winter, Freehauf said Sunday.

“It’s been hell. It’s not like him, he would have called his sister,” said Johnson’s daughter, Susan Trautman.

Trautman went to his Riverdale home and discovered a half-packed suitcase, groceries, a full fridge, her father’s medication and his checkbook.

Johnson and his 1982 gold Cadillac passenger car were gone. The North Dakota license plate number is HZZ466.

“It looks to us like he was interrupted in his home and suddenly left,” Trautman said.

She said the last time he communicated with anyone was a cellphone call at 2:24 p.m. on Oct. 15.

Johnson’s other daughter, Laura Wetsch, flew in from Raleigh, N.C., on Sunday to assist in the search.

The McLean County Sheriff’s Department has conducted aerial searches since Friday, but have been limited to that county, Wetsch said.

She was told that the North Dakota National Guard would conduct a larger scale search starting Monday.

Wetsch and Trautman also plan to drive the route Johnson takes when he leaves from Riverdale and goes through Jamestown to Valley City.

Johnson is a diabetic and has undergone double bypass surgery in the past. He is 5 feet 11 inches tall, weighs 220 pounds, has gray hair, a beard and a mustache and wears glasses. He has no memory issues.

“He’s always been a very gregarious person, very outgoing, he likes people,” Wetsch said of her father.

She said Johnson plays poker for a hobby and spends time enjoying the outdoors when he gets the chance.

He mows grass for the Riverdale park board in the spring and summer.

The McLean County sheriff was unavailable for comment on Sunday.

Anyone with information on Johnson’s whereabouts is asked to contact local law enforcement.

The Jamestown Sun is owned by Forum Communications Co.

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