Wright County Sheriff’s Office locates body of man missing in Seymour, Mo. conservation area

Published: Jan. 17, 2022 at 4:08 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 17, 2022 at 9:11 PM CST
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SEYMOUR, Mo. (KY3) - The Wright County Sheriff’s Office and other law enforcement agencies held a search Monday afternoon at the Cedar Gap conservation area.

The body of a missing Seymour man was found after several days of searching. Wright County Sheriff Sonny Byerley says family and friends discovered Bradley Sanders in the conservation area. Sheriff Byerley says deputies and family then worked together to bring Sanders out, which posed some challenges because of the location and terrain.

”It was a recovery mission to go in there and retrieve the body and collect all of the evidence that we could find on scene and my detectives are bringing all of that data back in order to start looking at possible solutions to what caused the death of this man,” Sheriff Byerley says.

The Seymour Police Department reported Bradley Sanders as a missing person on Wednesday.

Sheriff Byerley says on Friday his deputies were asked to assist in the search, which led to about 200 officers and volunteers searching Cedar Gap Conservation Area.

“Hypothermia can set in,” Sheriff Byerley says. “We’re going down into deep ravines that are wet. There was a creek down there that we had to cross several times. Had some high steep terrain that we had to climb up in order to get where this person was located. It’s taxing on us because we have a group of volunteers who aren’t used to that type of thing and we have to stay with them and it actually slows down our search and speeds up our search because we can cover more ground.”

Sheriff Byerley says the search was called off on Saturday because of the inclement weather. That weather may have impacted the investigation.

“When a body is found in a frozen state, it sometimes preserves some of that evidence,” Sheriff Byerley says. “But when water or snow gets on a body, some of that evidence is washed away.”

However, that didn’t stop family and friends from searching.

“Family members and their church family, with horses, decided to continue that search throughout Saturday, Sunday and today when his body was discovered deceased.”

When going out into wooded areas, it’s important to tell someone. Sheriff Byerley says because Sanders had told people he was going to Cedar Gap, it narrowed down their search.

“From what I have been told that’s just a comfortable place for him to go when he wanted to get away from reality,” Sheriff Byerley says. “It’s a sad situation. My heart and my staff’s heart goes out to that family.”

When going into heavily wooded areas alone, Sheriff Byerley recommends learning to use a manual compass, learning the terrain ahead of time, and paying attention to landmarks.

“Using GPS on your phone sometimes doesn’t work,” Sheriff Byerley says. “We think we can rely on a cell phone. Cell phones don’t always work in rural areas. Unfortunately, there are not enough cell phone towers in order to do that.”

An autopsy is scheduled for Friday in Springfield. Additional details are limited. We will update as more information becomes available.

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