Cass County sheriff leads new search to bring answers to missing man’s family
Cass County deputies, firefighters and Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension agents on Wednesday morning searched the woods north of Motley for clues in the case of Peter Achermann.
Achermann, 82, left the family farm to run errands but never returned home on July 24, 2009.
“The drought that we’ve been experiencing, it dried up an area that’s more of a wetland, gives us an opportunity to look in areas we may not have been able to look at the time,” Cass County Sheriff Bryan Welk explained of the new search efforts.
Achermann’s vehicle was found stuck in the mud near 85th Avenue Southwest in Becker Township on a minimum maintenance road. It was not the route investigators said he used earlier in the day to run errands in nearby Staples.
“It’s a total mystery why the vehicle was located where it was — why it went there. Was it staged, did he get stuck and try to find his way out?” Welk questioned. “All the scenarios are all over the place — we don’t know.”
Sheriff Welk said there is security video that captured Achermann grocery shopping and then picking up his wife’s medication before they believe he left Staples to possibly return home.
“We want to bring answers to the family and community,” Welk said.
Law enforcement said Achermann was described as “sharp as a tack” and in good health but would often carry a walking stick with him.
In the vehicle, authorities said the groceries and medication were found inside but Peter’s walking stick and keys were missing.
“I think about it a lot,” said Jörg Achermann, the youngest of Peter’s 10 children. “You have to take it day by day, you can’t put all your fears, anger out there.”
At the time he vanished, authorities say the landscape looked different, with thick vegetation alongside the road. Investigators feel that could have made it difficult for a man who used a walking stick to navigate that terrain, instead of using the road to look for possible help.
“I think somebody knows what happened to him,” Jörg said. “That’s one of the hardest things. Who would hurt an old man that nobody had a problem with?”
Sheriff Welk asks anyone with information regarding the disappearance or case to call investigators at 218-547-1424.