David Ochs has been missing since March 13.
(Aurora, Ind.) – The search is continuing as an Aurora-area man remains missing after his truck dove into a creek last week.
The pickup truck of 39-year-old David Ochs was found submerged in North Hogan Creek on Wednesday. When emergency responders pulled the truck from the creek, Ochs was not inside. His dog, which may have been in the vehicle and escaped through an open window, was found wandering in the area.
Dearborn County Water Rescue crews have been on the creek each day since searching for Ochs, who is feared dead.
“He could be in (the creek). We won’t be certain until he either turns up or we find him there,” said Dearborn County Sheriff Mike Kreinhop.
According to the sheriff, investigators believe Ochs’ truck ended up in the creek on accident. There were no skid marks present on North Hogan Road near where the truck went off the road and down a steep embankment.
Kreinhop said the truck had some minor damage on the passenger side from striking a boat ramp near the creek as it plunged into the water. There was also damage to the windshield, which Kreinhop said may indicate that Ochs hit his head on the windshield at some time during the accident.
“Water Rescue will continue to search with no end planned at this point,” the sheriff said.
Ochs family is assisting in the search. Ochs’ aunt, Cherri Strohofer, said several of David’s family and friends have been searching along Hogan Creek since Thursday. She said his boot was found floating in the water as Ochs’ father searched the creek using his personal watercraft Friday.
Strohofer questioned law enforcement’s effort in the search for her nephew.
“I'm not sure why the family was left to take care of this seemingly on their own. On Saturday the DNR and water rescue were there, but it seems like all of that was two days too late. I am extremely disappointed in our county officials. I don't believe this situation has been given the attention it deserves,” Strohofer said. “This is by far one of the worst experiences a family could ever go through. No one should feel like they are going through it alone.”
She did credit Dearborn County Water Rescue, who have had personnel on the creek each day since Ochs went missing.
Kreinhop responded to Strohofer’s criticism. He said his department, unlike Dearborn County Water Rescue, doesn’t have the capability to perform water searches.
The sheriff holds out hope that Ochs will be found. Nearby residents are asked to check their outlying buildings such as barns and sheds. Kreinhop said Ochs could have escaped the water and sought shelter.
Anybody with information that can help locate David Ochs is asked to call the Dearborn County Sheriff’s Department, (812) 537-3431.