The search for a missing Mishawaka ER doctor from Northwest Indiana has been suspended indefinitely and might never get back underway. That’s according to information released by the Eagle County, Colorado Sheriff’s Department.
Several new inches of snow on the ground, danger of an avalanche and no signs of missing hiker Jim McGrogan caused search and rescue crews to call off the mission at noon Mountain Time near Vail.
McGrogan disappeared Friday when he went ahead of his friends on a hiking trip in the backcountry.
His father, Bill McGrogan, talked with WSBT before rescuers suspended the search Tuesday. He said his son had an adventurous side – always pushed himself, wanted to be first and the best.
Four days into the massive search, Bill said he and other family members are hoping for a good outcome but worried it might not happen.
“If he’s alive, he’ll live,” Bill said. “He’s got all the stuff he needs.”
Bill said he’s been taking it minute by minute since he learned his son, who he calls ‘Jimmy,’ was missing.
“It’s been 4 or 5 days now. Now I’m starting to really worry that he might not make it,” he continued, saying he’s trying not to lose faith.
Tuesday marked day 4 of the search. More than 50 rescuers and 2 helicopters scoured an 18 mile area of the backcountry for any sign of the St. Joseph Regional Medical Center ER doctor, husband and father of two very small children.
“It took him three times to get into med school, three times he kept trying. Finally, third time they took him,” Bill said. “He’s just always been like that. All through school he wanted to be a doctor and he’s a good doctor. It’s just too bad we have to, if we have lost him it’s just too bad. What a loss, you know? He’s a good kid.”
Police said McGrogan was last seen around 10 a.m. Mountain Time on Friday when he went ahead of his friends, but he wasn’t at the hut where they’d planned to meet. Police also said they did not suspect anything suspicious about McGrogan’s disappearance – he apparently just wandered away.
But he did have a large pack with food, water, medical supplies, a GPS and other tools with him.
Crews said Tuesday afternoon they’d found no sign of McGrogan, including a last known location.
Several of the physician’s family members were in Colorado, including his mom, wife and a brother.
“So far he’s pretty much done everything he wants to do but sometimes there’s a limit. That’s a whole new deal for him up there, he’s never done that before,” said Bill.
“There’s always hope,” said Jim McGrogan’s neighbor, Donna Behrens. “That’s the one thing. Believe in God and believe that there’s an answer somewhere.”
Behrens and other neighbors in Chesterton – where McGrogan was born and raised – said they’re hopeful an answer comes soon. But they and the doctor’s other family members know it might not be the answer they want.
“I just hope he’s OK spiritually. I’m not worried about all this other [stuff]. I just hope he’s with God if that’s what happened, you know?” Bill said.