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Wadena, Minn., man missing since Monday found safe in swamp near town

WADENA, Minn. - A 76-year-old man missing since Monday morning was found safe Wednesday afternoon in a swampy area northeast of here.

Wadena Police Chief Bruce Uselman said David Delano Paulson hadn't been seen since he left home at 10:40 a.m. Monday. He suffers from dementia and diabetes and was in need of his diabetes medication.

Paulson's 1997 Buick Park Avenue was found in a wooded area in Section 36 of Leaf River Township about noon Wednesday, but Paulson wasn't inside, Uselman said.

Searchers fanned out from the site and Wadena County Chief Deputy Bill Cross found footprints in the snow and mud leading north. Around 1:30 p.m., about a quarter mile from the car, they found Paulson near a grove of trees in a swampy field.

"He was conscious and able to talk to authorities," Uselman said.

A four-wheel drive vehicle was used to extract Paulson from the area, and he was taken by ambulance to Tri-County Hospital for treatment.

Uselman said rainy weather and low visibility did not allow a State Patrol helicopter to fly and aid in the search, but in the end, the elements were a help.

"Thank God for the snow and mud so we could find his footprints," Uselman said.

Steve Schulz is a reporter at the Wadena (Minn.) Pioneer Journal, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.