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Missing turkey hunter in Stoneface area found dead

April 13, 2012

By Christy Stewart, DailyRegister.com

MOUNTAIN TOWNSHIP —
 
A ground search has ended for a man who went missing in the Stoneface area while turkey hunting Wednesday. Saline County Sheriff Keith Brown said the man was found dead by search and rescue crews Thursday afternoon.
 
Joseph W. Thatcher, 62, of Wilmington, was in the area turkey hunting with friends and family when he failed to show back up at their campsite on Eagle Mountain Road to meet his friend at 11 a.m. Wednesday.
 
"He went to Eagle Mountain Road after dropping a friend off at Stoneface and never made it back to his vehicle," said Brown.
 
When Thatcher's companions were unable to locate him, they contacted the Saline County Sheriff's Department around 3 p.m. Wednesday. Officials said Thatcher had a heart condition, so they wanted to begin the search as soon as possible.
...
 
Officials believe the man died from a heart condition shortly after heading into the woods, but was difficult to find because he was wearing camouflage clothing.
 
"He very much blended in," said Brown. "It was a difficult search."
 
Thatcher was located at 2 p.m. and was pronounced dead at the scene by Saline County Coroner Jerry Doug Watson.
 
In an interview with "The Daily Register/Eldorado Daily Journal" last November,  Thatcher said he had been camping with friends and hunting from the same site on Eagle Mountain Road for 40 years. He was introduced to the site in the 1970s by George Chrisman of Raleigh.

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