80-year old Millcreek man still missing despite heightened search effort

Published: Friday, Oct. 9 2015 10:06 p.m. MDT

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SALT LAKE CITY — Despite nearly 1,000 volunteers joining the search Sunday, 80-year-old Fritz B. Helland remains missing.

"Although we're very excited with the turnout and pleased with the effort, again we're just having no success, which is extremely concerning," Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder said. "We're coming up on four days. We're just hopeful we can bring this to a conclusion."

Officials announced about 7 p.m. Sunday that the effort to locate Helland would transition into a new phase, ending the call for volunteers to respond to organized searches.

The Millcreek man was last in contact with his family Wednesday, by cellphone during a walk with his dog, a miniature Doberman pinscher. He reportedly has problems with his short-term memory.

Police are asking residents to search around their own homes, sheds, trailers and yards for any sign of Helland.

Winder said the support by the community Sunday was "almost overwhelming," and allowed the search that started in the Skyline High School area to expand well beyond the six square miles covered by about 200 volunteers Saturday. 

Loren Lybbert was among those who volunteered Sunday, talking to area residents about what they might have seen and asking for permission to search their backyards for any sign of the missing man.

"If it was my grandfather or my father, I'd want somebody out there help me look," Lybbert said. "So it was a group effort, just to make it more purposeful."

Another volunteer, Jake Beck, said he learned of the effort to find Helland when members of his church asked for volunteers.

"I felt like it was something I should try to do," Beck said.  

Robert Fratcher spent Sunday morning knocking on doors in neighborhoods around 4500 South. 

"We're totally worried about the guy. We want him to be found. The family has been distraught, and they want to find where their grandfather is, where their father is," Fratcher said. 

The sheriff praised the effort by the volunteers. 

"This community never ceases to amaze me. We live in a great place," Winder said. "Every time we ring the bell in this community, our people show up."

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