Man Trapped In Wreckage Wrote Letters To His Family

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A missing Kansas man spent his final days trapped in the wreckage of his van in a rural Utah ravine – writing goodbye letters to the family he unexpectedly left in early September.

David Welch, 54, was found on Oct. 18 by a hitchhiker who spotted the crash in a desolate stretch of eastern Utah more than 50 miles from any town, said Utah Highway Patrol trooper Gary Riches.

They found Welch trapped inside his mangled minivan at the bottom of a 50-foot ravine – with hand-written notes to his wife and four adult sons.

What’s in those letters, though, is not being made public. The Welch family declined comment for this story and the Utah Highway Patrol isn’t sharing what they call very personal.

The discovery brought a tragic end to a difficult several weeks for Welch’s family that began on Sept. 2 when they reported him missing from his home in Manhattan, Kan. The family said Welch, a retired salesman, left in a 2000 Pontiac Montana without telling anyone where he was going, said Riley County Police spokesman Matt Droge.

Over the next several days, Riley County Police of Kansas did several searches of the area that came up empty, said agency. Welch was put in the national missing persons database.

As the days went on, the family struggled with not knowing what happened.

They posted missing signs around the city and started a Facebook page to bring attention to the search, Droge said.

On the Facebook page, “Find Dave Welch,” they asked people to drive two extra blocks each day in hopes of finding him somewhere in Manhattan. On. Oct. 17, the day before he was found, there was a post written directly to Welch, perhaps in hopes he might read them.

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