"We're not looking for a needle in a haystack, because we haven't found the haystack yet," said the police chief of Duluth, Minnesota, Saturday morning in regards to the case of an elderly couple who had been missing for 8 days. By the afternoon, a helicopter had found both the haystack and the needle, to tragic ends. Ron and Mary Tarnowski were found dead in the Brookston area, near a hunting shack the family owned about 30 miles from Duluth. Foul play isn't suspected. The Washington Post reports the couple lived near one of their sons, Karl Tarnowski, who noticed they uncharacteristically didn't return home on July 29. The Duluth News Tribune reports the couple didn't have cellphones or credit cards on them, nor did their car's OnStar system engage, leaving authorities with little to go on.
But there was, perhaps, a general area: Their last sighting had been at 1pm on the day they went missing at a corner store near Brookston. KARE reports the Tarnowskis' Chevy Tahoe was found in a remote area, apparently stuck on what seemed to be a "swampy" trail typically accessed by snowmobilers in the winter. Mary, 78, was in the vehicle; Ron, 82, was outside it, some 50 feet from the road, suggesting he had gone in search of help. Karl tells the Post that it's thought both died the day they went missing; Mary is believed to have succumbed to dehydration and heat. The couple is depicted as a devoted one: A stroke at age 42 left Mary paralyzed on her right side; Ron was constantly by her side, but had himself begun to show early signs of dementia. (This couple was found 75 years after they went missing.)