Family Remains Hopeful During River Search for Missing Mpls. Man

Updated: 08/12/2014 9:31 AM
Created: 08/11/2014 9:22 PM
By: Beth McDonough

A search was conducted on the massive Mississippi River on Monday, and many involved were trying to remain hopeful that Joe Zurnieden, a husband and father of two young daughters, would be found. The Minneapolis man has been missing since July 1, vanishing in Northeast Minneapolis.

A volunteer search team from Wisconsin made a second trip to the river with sophisticated equipment.

"Did daddy go into the lake?" Wistful words from a 3-year-old that tug at the hearts of those listening, especially for Keith Cormican, who lost his brother.

Personal pain drives Cormican's professional passion. A deputy in Wisconsin, he also runs Bruce's Legacy, a search and rescue team named after his brother, a fallen firefighter. 

Although Cormican doesn't know Zurnieden, it doesn't matter. He wants to do what he can to find the missing father and husband. 

Katy Zurnieden stopped taking part in the searches herself out of fear. "It all hit home; I can't be the one to find him. I have great memories, and it can't be like that," Zunieden said.

Volunteers with Bruce's Legacy took over.  Twice now, they've used sonar equipment and a robot to look underwater for Zurnieden, thinking he might be the victim of an accidental drowning. His body could be hung up near the lock and dam. 

However, what they found on this day was a cluster of cars.

Searchers recovered license plates and turned that information over to authorities, but that's all they found so far.

Police don't suspect foul play, but no one is quite sure what happened when Zurnieden disappeared. His car was found two days later. 

A fundraiser for his family will be held Thursday, Aug. 21. Donations also can be made directly into a trust account at Wells Fargo.

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