WDAY: The News Leader

Published September 09, 2010, 02:40 PM

Family grateful after missing loved one was found alive

(WDAY TV) - The family of an Oregon man is grateful after their missing loved one was found alive in North Dakota Wednesday.

By: WDAY Staff Reports, WDAY

Willy Kunkle's family is spending one last night in Fargo after flying in to search for the 26-year old, who's on a cross country bicycle trek. As we first told you, Willy suddenly stopped communicating near Wahpeton Friday.

Turns out, his cell phone didn't work, he couldn't find a pay phone, and took a different route to Alexander, North Dakota. Tonight his family is all smiles.

“I don't feel that I have to go into hiding because I really didn't like the spotlight yesterday. I didn't like it all, but it was necessary because our son, we couldn't find him so today. We're just happy.

“We're ecstatic. I haven't laughed that hard in a long time, honestly and not in a mocking type of way but just like this is life.”

Willy's family is tracing some of his steps in North Dakota, including going to a coffee shop he went to and talking with a convicted felon he met. They plan to meet Willy in Montana tomorrow. On a side note, his friends are making "Where's Willy?" t-shirts to commemorate this unique story. We tried to reach Willy, but of course could not.