The Greenville County Sheriff's Office has confirmed that the body of missing 76-year-old Dale Hunter was found in Greenville on Thursday.
Hunter disappeared April 5 after leaving his home on Altamont Road around 11:45 a.m. for a walk. He was last seen wearing a blue shirt, blue jeans and a green bath robe.
Family said Hunter suffered from dementia and had cochlear implants in which the batteries had likely died, leaving him deaf.
In the days that followed Hunter's disappearance, hundreds of personnel spent thousands of man-hours searching for him throughout Paris Mountain. Air support and K-9 teams were brought in. A rescue crew scoured bodies of water on the mountain but turned up nothing.
Hunter's family sought national exposure for the case because they believed he could have possibly been picked up by someone. They were offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to his safe return.
Electronic billboards also popped up in the Upstate featuring Hunter's photo, and a message urging anyone who sees him to stay with him and call 911 immediately.
Deputies asked everyone in the Paris Mountain area to review their home security footage and check their property for possible signs of Hunter.
Although the active search had been called off, the investigation was ongoing. Deputies said search teams would work in targeted-specific areas if they received a substantiated tip regarding his whereabouts.
On Thursday, April 19, officials with Greenville County Sheriff's Office confirmed that the body of Dale Hunter had been found along Altamont Road in Greenville by a private citizen.
Deputy Sean Zukowsky of Greenville County Sheriff's Office said they got a call around 4:51 p.m. from a private citizen who reported finding a body deep in the woods.
Deputies said they responded quickly, but due to the nature of the terrain, it took quite some time for them to reach the citizen and body. According to the sheriff's office, the citizen had been further canvassing the area in search of Hunter, when he happened upon the body.
Zukowsky said deputies worked to remove the body from the site, which was described as a ravine, before nightfall in order to keep everyone safe.
Hunter's cause of death remains undetermined, but deputies said there are no indicators of foul play at this time, though an autopsy (scheduled for Friday) and further investigation is expected.
Greenville County Sheriff's Office, Greenville County EMS, Piedmont Park Fire Department and the Greenville County Coroner's Office all responded to assist with recovering the body. Zukowsky said Hunter was found deep in the woods, far away from the end of a logging road.
According to Zukowsky, deputies did not initially search the area where Hunter's body was found because there were no indications that would have led them to that spot.
Deputies said Hunter's family has been notified of the death.
Funeral arrangements have been announced for Hunter. A visitation will be held on Sunday from 1:00 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. at Earle Street Baptist Church. The funeral will take place immediately following the visitation at the church.
"It's a tragedy that it ended this way," said Zukowsky.
The case remains under investigation by Greenville County Sheriff's Office and Greenville County Coroner's Office.
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