An organized search by volunteers and law enforcement Thursday uncovered a body police believe is that of missing Brainerd man John Greenwaldt.
The Brainerd Police Department reported officers discovered the body at 4:50 p.m. Thursday in a wooded area near a trail, located close to the 300 block of Hattie Street. The area is south of Boom Lake.
The body was transported to the Ramsey County Medical Examiner's Office for autopsy to determine the cause of death. The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is conducting an investigation.
It has been six weeks since Greenwaldt, 29, was last seen getting into a vehicle in downtown Brainerd. Thursday, about 20 volunteers joined a multi-agency search covering areas in Brainerd Greenwaldt was known to frequent.
Renay Greenwaldt, John Greenwaldt's mother, said she was happy to see so many people out looking for her son. She became emotional as she talked about seeing the volunteer support.
"I'm happy that I have people out here supporting us today and helping us look for my son," Greenwaldt said. "I miss him."
Mike Manders worked with Greenwaldt several years ago in the kitchens at Grand View Lodge, he said. Even if Mike and his wife Sue Manders didn't know Greenwaldt, they would still offer to help find him, she said.
"Bottom line is, I'm just a mom and I'm just a person," Sue Manders said. "And I feel really bad for this family."
Mike and Sue were both sad when they found out Greenwaldt was missing, they said.
"You see the impact that it has on the families, when family members are missing," Mike Manders said. "I guess we put ourselves in the same situation, you know, what if it was us? What if it was one of our children?"
Greenwaldt was a friend of a friend of Mike Smith's, Smith said. Despite not knowing Greenwaldt personally or volunteering for a search before, Smith said he volunteered Thursday because he wanted to help.
"Never done it," Smith said. "I just wanted to do a part."
Kelly Roloff didn't know Greenwaldt and had never volunteered for a search before, but still wanted to help look for Greenwaldt.
"I was at my sister's right in town and thought I would come over and see if I could help," Roloff said.
Volunteers and searchers gathered at the Crow Wing County Fairgrounds for a briefing before heading out to search. Brainerd Police Department Investigator Chad Kleffman told searchers to look for a red mountain bike-style bicycle or a black backpack.
Crow Wing County Mounted Patrol and several search-and-rescue units from around the state assisted Brainerd police Thursday. The mounted patrol and K-9 units searched around Buffalo Hills Park, while volunteers combed a wooded area north of Shipman Auto Parts and Jaycees Park. Another group of volunteers searched a wooded area south of the Social Security Administration office south of College Road in Baxter, where they said Greenwaldt was known to frequent.
Greenwaldt's family reported him missing to the Brainerd Police Department July 14 after becoming concerned no one had heard from him for nearly two weeks. Greenwaldt was last seen on the Fourth of July in downtown Brainerd when he got into an unknown vehicle.
Anyone with information regarding this investigation is asked to call Brainerd police at 218-829-2805.