A Hampshire County resident who lived in the Woodrow area of Paw Paw was reported missing by his family last Tuesday and was found by search parties on Friday morning, December 8 in heavy brush near his residence. The man was deceased by the time he was found.
Hampshire County Sheriff Nathan Sions said William Nyal Gilbert, 88, of Hampshire County was reported missing by his family. A missing persons poster said they had last seen Gilbert on Tuesday, December 5.
Gilbert was said to live alone near the Morgan County/Hampshire County border.
After an extensive search by multiple police agencies, Gilbert was located, deceased, in a wooded area of heavy underbrush, not far from his home.
“We’re not sure what caused him to get off track,” Sheriff Sions said in an email. “It seems he got off his regular walking path and was unable to work his way out of some heavy brush he walked into it.”
Police are uncertain if Gilbert had a medical emergency or didn’t get out of the woods before dark and was unable to find his path.
“The autopsy should help clarify some questions once it is complete,” said Sheriff Sions.
Officers from the Hampshire County Sheriff’s Office, Morgan County Sheriff’s Office, West Virginia State Police and Frederick County, Va. Sheriff’s Office participated in the search for the man.
“Deputies search Thursday evening and through much of the night. We reconvened the search at 0900 hours on Friday morning and Mr. Gilbert was located early afternoon on Friday,” said the sheriff.
Sion said officers did a grid search and eventually located Gilbert not far from his residence.
No foul play is suspected in the man’s death.