Missing man found dead in pasture

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 4, 2002

For three weeks and two days, the search to find 87-year-old James &uot;Hug&uot; Polnitz was top priority for the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department, relatives and the Orrville community.

Deputies used helicopters and other tracking techniques to scour the areas thought county to find the Orrville man.

Then Wednesday afternoon, Oct. 2 &045;&045; the second day of the third week &045;&045; the sheriff’s department received a phone call from an individual who believed to have found Polnitz’s beige and brown truck while attempting to pasteurize hunting land and noticed it, Sheriff Harris Huffman Jr. said.

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Authorities arrived at the site, which was about 2.1 miles off of County Road 120 in a wooded area and about six miles from where Polnitz lived, shortly after the call, Huffman said.

It was then confirmed that the truck, parked in a heavily shaded area in the woods, did belong to Polnitz. He too was in the vehicle and a death investigation ensued.

Huffman estimated that Polnitz had been dead for three weeks.

Polnitz was last seen Monday, Sept. 9, before he told family members he was headed to Selma to visit a brother. He never made it there.

Relatives became concerned.

Although Polnitz had not been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, he was not as mentally sound as he once was, and, according to Huffman, had wondered off before. He also had a bad case of arthritis, which limited his mobility.

As to the reaction of relatives after hearing of his death, Doris Polnitz said, &uot;It’s a relief. Now we know something. It’s better to know something than not know anything.&uot;

Doris Polnitz also acknowledged the tremendous effort and support of family members, friends, the sheriff’s department and district attorney’s office.

Polnitz is survived by his wife, Ola, and nine children.

Huffman said, &uot;Considering how we found him, it’s heartbreaking. The good thing is the family has some type of closure.&uot;