UPDATE: Father of Former Missing Man Found Dead

By: WSAZ News Staff Email
By: WSAZ News Staff Email

UPDATE 11/20/12
SCIOTO COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- Just days after a missing man is found alive and safe, his father has died.

Scioto County Sheriff's Captain David Hall tells WSAZ.com that Richard Laack, 56, was found unresponsive in the front yard of his house in Scioto County last Friday.

Laack was pronounced dead at St. Mary's Medical Center in Huntington.

Captain Hall says the elder Laack's injuries were consistent with a fall, and that his death does not appear to be suspicious.

The Sheriff's Office is still waiting for a full autopsy to be completed.

Richard Laack's son James, 35, went missing on September 24. He was missing for nearly two months before he was recorded by deer hunter's surveillance cameras, proving he was still alive.

On November 13 James Laack was found alive. He had been living in an abandoned house in the same area where his car was found about a week after he disappeared. That was along Scherer's Hollow Road.



UPDATE 11/14/12
SCIOTO COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- A Scioto County man missing since for nearly two month has been found alive.

James Laack, 35, disappeared after leaving his job about lunch time on September 24.

Scioto County Sheriff’s Captain David Hall says Laack was found Tuesday afternoon. Hall says Laack had been living in an abandoned house in the same area where his car was found about a week after he disappeared. That was along Scherer’s Hollow Road. His wallet and keys were found in the car.

About a week ago, a deer hunter's surveillance camera captured Laack on video providing friends and family with evidence that he was still alive and in the area.

Hall says Laack told him he took off because he was afraid he was going to get in trouble with his dad because of a slight mishap with his car.

Detectives said that Laack was diagnosed with autism as a child.



UPDATE 11/9/12
PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (WSAZ) -- A lot of hunters are keeping a watchful eye right now on their deer tracking surveillance cameras out in the woods. But, what one hunter spotted -- on his camera -- is giving a family renewed hope in their search for a missing loved one.

An unexpected update on a story we first told you about last month on WSAZ.com.

Caught on camera. It's a phrase usually associated with crime. And while these images have definitely captured the attention of detectives, there's nothing really criminal about them.

James Laack, 35, of Portsmouth, was reported missing in early October after leaving his job at Taylor Lumber. A week later, his car was found abandoned on Scherer's Hollow Road -- wallet and keys inside, but no sign of Laack.

An air and ground search was launched -- still nothing. Then, the mystery took a bizarre turn in the woods, not too far from the abandoned car.

Not found, but at least spotted -- and alive. Why Laack is out here, apparently living among the deer and other wildlife, is hard for anyone to figure out -- especially his family.

"The family members are puzzled and not understanding why he's not coming home. They want him home," said Det, Daniel Patrick Malone with the Scioto County Sheriff's Department.

To add to the intrigue, neighbors spotted Laack Monday walking along a road in the area.

So the search for James Laack resumes, and a family once again has reason to believe.

Detective Malone says Laack was diagnosed with autism as a child, and keeps to himself -- but is in no way a danger to anyone.

If you've seen him you are urged to call the Scioto County Sheriff's Office at 740-355-8261.



UPDATE 10/12/12
PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (WSAZ) -- A search for missing man continued Friday morning in Scioto County.

James Laack, 35, disappeared two weeks ago and investigators say they suspect foul play could be involved.

A week after Laack’s car was reported missing, his car was found in this remote area of Scioto County on a ridge on private property on Scherers Hollow Road. His wallet and keys were in the vehicle.

Captain David Hall with the Scioto county Sheriff’s Office tells WSAZ.com that Friday morning, detectives, on four wheelers, went to the area that a dog tracked to. They then walked the ravine all the way down to Mabert Road, but found nothing.

Hall say this is very hilly and treacherous area.

Thursday, a plane from the Ohio Highway Patrol searched the area for any sign of Laack. Earlier in the week, tracking dogs and bloodhounds were a brought to search the area.

Investigators with the Sheriff’s Office say they have surveillance video of Laack several days after he disappeared going into a Walmart and buying liquor

"We don't know what happened, but we're treating it as suspicious until we find something," Capt. Hall said.

If you've seen or know anything about the disappearance of James Laack, you're asked to give the Scioto County Sheriff's Department a call at 740-355-8261.



ORIGINAL STORY 10/1/12
PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (WSAZ) -- A man is missing and police are left clueless.

James Laack, 35, disappeared two weeks ago and police say they suspect foul play could be involved. A plane flown by the Ohio Highway Patrol circles overhead searching for any sign of James Laack.

On the ground, follow up to widespread searches done earlier in the week. A week after James was reported missing, his car was found in this remote area of Scioto County on a ridge on private property on Scherers Hollow Road.

"The car looked normal. He left his wallet inside and his car keys. His bank account was untouched," Capt. Hall said.

But, there was no sign of James. There was a strange sighting of him just before the car turned up but still several days after he disappeared.

"We have surveillance video of him going into Walmart and buying liquor. He was in his car for quite a while before that," Capt. Hall said.

But, no sightings since causing police to focus their search on this rural ridge not knowing if James stumbled and fell somewhere or something much more sinister happened.

"We don't know what happened, but we're treating it as suspicious until we find something," Capt. Hall said.

If you've seen or know anything about the disappearance of James Laack, you're asked to give the Scioto County Sheriff's Department a call at 740-355-8261.


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