Michigan DNR Conservation Officer Rescues Gladwin County Woman

Pigeon River Country State Forest
DNR conservation officer rescues Gladwin County woman
Michigan DNR MDNR
Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Michigan -(Ammoland.com)-  A 46-year-old Gladwin County woman was rescued Friday morning by a Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officer after she had been reported missing the previous night.

Elaine Goheen had been last seen Wednesday. Searchers had been trying unsuccessfully to locate her since a missing person’s report was filed by family members Thursday. A “be on the lookout” bulletin was issued for Goheen. Law enforcement officials began searching. All efforts to “ping” her cell phone in location attempts were unsuccessful and the phone apparently had been out of service for at least three days.

Goheen’s vehicle was located Friday morning at Trout Lake State Forest Campground in Gladwin County. Deputies from the Gladwin County Sherriff’s Office and two Michigan State Police canine units performed search operations in the vicinity of the campground. Police and DNR conservation officer Mark Papineau interviewed family members.

After family members had told Papineau that Goheen was “going to clear her head,” the DNR conservation officer, acting on a hunch, decided to do a foot search of the area along the state forest pathway associated with the campground.

According to Papineau’s search and rescue training, in such cases, a “reflection area” needs to be searched.

“Figuring that area was one of the most beautiful in the area, if it were me, that is where I would go,” Papineau said.

In a forest, about a mile from the campground, and from the top of a ridge, Papineau saw Goheen lying down about 50 yards off the trail.

“I approached and identified the victim, who was alive and suffering from hypothermia and dehydration,” Papineau said. “She was not wearing shoes or a jacket.”

Papineau gave her his uniform coat for warmth and a canteen of water from his survival kit. He notified Gladwin Central Dispatch.

“She was extremely disoriented and it is unclear how many nights she spent in the woods,” Papineau said. “But it was at least one.”

Thursday night the temperatures had dipped into the 30s in that area.

“She had minor cuts and abrasions on her feet and legs and she advised she lost her coat, shoes, glasses and cell phone when she fell down a hill during the night,” Papineau said.

Situated about a mile back in the woods off the pathway, with no easy way out, Papineau was able to move Goheen to the edge of Hoister Lake, where he coordinated rescue efforts. He advised deputies to secure a boat he’d seen at a nearby campground earlier in the day. He then directed the deputies to his location, facilitating Goheen’s rescue. She was safely transported by boat to an area accessible by vehicle.

Goheen was taken to Mid-Michigan Medical Center in Gladwin where she underwent treatment for her injuries and exposure to the elements. No updated condition report was available.

“The family was very appreciative,” Papineau said. “Thankfully, it was a good outcome.”

DNR conservation officers often aid in missing persons cases and other emergency situations, including ice rescue and administering first aid.

“Michigan conservation officers are vital to search and rescue operations performed in communities throughout the state,” said Gary Hagler, chief of the DNR Law Enforcement Division. “They are often the first responders on the scene and routinely conduct lifesaving operations.”

Michigan conservation officers are fully commissioned state peace officers who provide natural resources protection, ensure recreational safety and protect citizens by providing general law enforcement duties and lifesaving operations in the communities they serve.

Learn more about Michigan conservation officers at www.michigan.gov/conservationofficers.

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Grey Beard

She wants to “clear her head” and he decides to look in the most beautiful section of the area. He used his brain to select the area to search and probably saved her life. Another day and night at those temperatures and who knows the outcome.

The Rifleman

Kudos to MDNR officer Mark Papineau for his relentless efforts and his dedication to finding this person.
I think the Michigan Department of Natural Resources is very fortunate to have “the best of the best” working for them.