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Body Of Missing Elderly Man Found; Investigators Believe He Froze To Death

Reported: Jan. 24, 2014 12:16 PM EST
Updated: Jan. 24, 2014 11:51 PM EST
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NICHOLAS COUNTY, W.Va. (Leslie Rubin) - After disappearing four days ago, police have found the body of a missing elderly man from Nicholas County.

"I just want to know what happened," Sharon Strickland says just after she learned her cousin, Dana Carte, 79, had been found.

Missing since Monday, deputies believe the elderly man, who also suffers from dementia froze to death.

Strickland, however, wassomewhat skeptical all the facts are on the table.

"That's just not...it just can not be the right thing," she said.

Carte was last seen Monday after dropping off his grandson at a Go-Mart on U.S. Route 19 in the Birch River area of Nicholas County.

Deputies had been searching for him ever since, hopeful that someone would stumble upon clues that would them to him.

On Thursday night, they got the break they were looking for when a person testing water found his burned out 2010 Chevrolet HHR. On Friday morning, a Fayette County Sheriff's Department K9 led police to his body nearby.

"After several hours on the hill today, we did find him in what we believe was a makeshift tree stand, so we don't anticipate any foul play," Sheriff David Hopkins said.

The discovery was made several miles up a secluded road behind the DOH garage in Muddlety. It is a very remote area, only accessible by high profile vehicles.

Deputies believe he took a wrong turn, went up the road, and got stuck. They believe he spun the wheels so much until the car caught fire.

"He just became disoriented and walked off from his vehicle after it caught on fire, and we found him and we believe he froze," Hopkins said.

"We just don't know what has happened. I'm not giving up. I just want answers," Strickland said.

Carte's body will be sent to the medical examiner's office for an autopsy to determine an exact cause of death.




NICHOLAS COUNTY, W.Va. (Bethany Simmons, Leslie Rubin) - The body of a missing elderly man has been found and investigators believe he may have frozen to death.

Nicholas County Sheriff David Hopkins said that Dana Carte, 79, of Craigsville had been reported missing earlier this week after he was last seen alive about 9:30 p.m. Monday in the Birch River area of the county.

Hopkins said it appears that Carte took a wrong turn in his 2010 Chevrolet HHR, onto a secluded road near the State Road garage and when he tried turning the vehicle around, it got stuck.

A person testing mine water in the area Thursday, found his car. Hopkins said it's believed that the vehicle caught fire when Carte tried to get it unstuck.

His vehicle was positively identified by its Vin number at a local body shop, Hopkins said. Carte apparently left the vehicle on foot and was found dead inside a nearby makeshift tree stand.

Hopkins said the investigation is preliminary at this time, but investigators do believe Carte frozen to death.




CRAIGSVILLE, W.Va. (Bethany Simmons) -- Nicholas County deputies need your help to find an elderly man who was reported missing on Monday.

Dana Carte, 79, of Craigsville was last seen about 9:30 p.m. Monday in the Birch River area of the county, Col. J.B. Bailey said.

Carte was last seen driving a gray 2010 Chevrolet HHR with WV registration OVZ263 and was wearing a redish-tan deer T-Shirt, blue jeans, boots and a green plaid flannel coat and may have been wearing a gray and black coal mining hat.

If you have any information on his whereabouts, call the Nicholas County Sheriff's Department at 304-872-4911.

-- Nicholas County Sheriff's Department Photo



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