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Family still hopeful after three years that Peter Achermann will be found

It’s been three years since Peter Achermann of Staples disappeared — giving family and friends no closure on what happened to their loved one — but they’re still hopeful that he will be found.

Ackermann’s daughter Desiree Greenwaldt of Motley said “Whoever thought it would go on this long... We’re hopeful, even today my mom and I were at our Grower’s Market booth and she said ‘You know maybe they’ll find him in a nursing home in North Dakota or something.’ We continue to be hopeful.”

Cass County Sheriff Tom Burch said Thursday that they are still following leads and are extending the up to $20,000 reward in locating the 82-year-old man for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for the disappearance, if the disappearance is the result of foul play.

Achermann — a father of 11 children and 13 foster children, grandfather of 21 and great-grandfather of 15 — was last seen July 24, 2009, on Warner Road, by the Crow Wing River bridge between 12-1 p.m. after he left his residence to run errands. His vehicle, described as a light blue 1995 Chevrolet Caprice Wagon, was located off Cass County Road 32, at the end of a minimum maintenance road on July 25, 2009. Burch said despite extensive searches of the area, no trace of Achermann has been found.

Burch said the sheriff’s office is working closely with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and is committed to solving the case. Burch said while several leads have been followed up on, there hasn’t been anything substantial to help solve the circumstances surrounding Achermann’s disappearance.

At the time when Achermann went missing he suffered from no medical conditions and had a regular checkup two weeks before his disappearance and he was given a clean bill of health.

Searches for Achermann started with law enforcement, family members and hundreds of volunteers and searches covered an area exceeding four square miles. Volunteers included Achermann’s family friends, members of two fire departments, two dive teams, members of two mounted posses, the DNR with aircraft and vehicles for traversing wetlands, the State Patrol and the Minnesota National Guard.

Achermann is a white man, about 5-foot-9, 175 pounds and has a black and gray beard and generally walks with a cane. Anyone with information, tips or leads on Achermann’s whereabouts is asked to contact the Cass County Sheriff’s Office at (800) 450-2677 or (218) 547-1424 or to call 911.

“We encourage anyone if they hear something, even if they don’t think it is important that they come forward,” said Greenwaldt. “The sheriff’s office has been wonderful and has checked out all the leads and hopefully one of those leads will be the piece of the puzzle that will help us bring closure to this.”

Greenwaldt said it’s tough as they don’t have any place to go to pay their respects to her dad.

“The last memory I have of my dad is he gave me a hug and said ‘I’ll see you later,’” said Greenwaldt. “But that later has not come yet and I’m still waiting.”

JENNIFER STOCKINGER may be reached at or 855-5851. Follow me on Twitter at