Search still on hold for missing Sleepy Eye man

BROWN COUNTY — The search for Vincent H. Mathiowetz continues to stall due to the dangerous river conditions.

Brown County Chief Deputy Jason Seidl said he is still evaluating the Cottonwood. As of Friday afternoon the river was moving too fast for the safety of search crews.

Mathiowetz was last seen on the morning of June 3. Sleepy Eye Police received a \missing person report at 12:13 p.m. the same day.

At 1:37 p.m., a vehicle belonging to Mathiowetz was found three and a half miles south of Sleepy Eye at a public water access boat landing near the Cottonwood River.

Mathiowetz was last seen wearing blue jeans, a red t-shirt, a blue and white flannel shirt and brown work boots. He was wearing a watch and glasses.

For nearly two weeks the Sleepy Eye Police and Fire Departments, the Brown County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO), a New Ulm Police Department K-9 unit, the New Ulm Fire Department and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) have conducted search of the area.

Golden Valley-based North Star Search and Rescue assisted search efforts on the river and shoreline with four handlers and four K-9 dogs including two tracking dogs and two cadaver dogs. The tracking dogs on land and the cadaver dogs on land and water all gave strong indications that Mathiowetz was in the water, according to a sheriff’s office news release.

The search area expanded east of the Highway 4 bridge. Rainfall, heavy at times, created strong river currents, low water visibility and river debris that made the search more challenging.

The BCSO has been forced to suspend search and recovery efforts on multiple occasions.

Friday afternoon, Seidl said the BCSO will continue to monitor river conditions throughout the weekend. He said the forecast indicates the river will be down by Monday.