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Searchers find body of man missing along Gunflint Trail

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news Bemidji, 56619

Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

Forum News Service

Searchers on Sunday found the body of Paul Brandt, the 82-year-old man who went missing Aug. 1 while picking blueberries along the Gunflint Trail.

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Gunflint Trail Volunteer Fire Department Chief Mike Prom said a family member located Brandt’s body a couple miles from the Gunflint Trail and about a mile from where Brandt’s vehicle had been found near a helipad used during forest firefighting efforts, in the vicinity of the Seagull Guard Station. It was very rugged terrain, Prom said — to the point that after locating Brandt and notifying others, searchers had some trouble finding that spot again.

After days of searching that included the use of aircraft, search dogs and personnel from 15 different agencies, the Cook County Sheriff’s Office had announced Wednesday that it was suspending the formal search for Brandt, a lifelong resident of the area. However, friends and family members continued to comb the area and were out again on Sunday.

While they searched in one area on Sunday, Prom said, Gunflint Trail firefighters and a couple of search dog teams from the St. Louis County Rescue Squad covered another area. After Brandt was found, Cook County Search and Rescue transported the body out to the Gunflint Trail.

A posting on the Facebook page of the Nor’Wester Lodge, which is operated by members of Brandt’s family, reported the news Sunday. It read: “Thank you for everyone’s thoughts and prayers for Paul. Fortunately we found him, but he did not make it. We will keep everyone posted on the service.”

Family members were unavailable for comment at the lodge Sunday evening, but a representative who answered the phone confirmed that Brandt’s body had been recovered, and said an autopsy will be conducted to determine his cause of death.

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