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How southeastern Butler County community aided search for missing man

A search and rescue crew finish up their search for David Henschel after he was found around 9:04 a.m. on Friday, June 21. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle
Winfield Twp. man found Friday
Related Article: Update: Missing Winfield Township man found alive Friday

Through donations of water and time, community members and business owners in southeastern Butler County banded together to aid the search for a missing Winfield Township man Friday, June 21.

State police and emergency personnel were searching through the night and into the morning for David Henschel, 74, in the area of North Pike Road near Thiele Farm in Jefferson Township.

Henschel was declared missing early Thursday after he was last seen in the area of Henschel Acres Lane in Winfield Township at about 12:04 a.m. Wednesday.

William Thiele, an owner and operator of the Thiele dairy farm, said state police told them late Thursday night Henschel’s car could be in the area.

Thiele said he and his parents went to look for the dark green Mercedes SUV, and just as they were about to give up, they found it.

“It was just off our property near our neighbors,” he said.

Thiele said they were driving around with a spotlight trying to locate Henschel.

“We were up all night; we wanted to help of course,” he said.

State police and four search crews used the Thiele’s driveway as a command post. The crews included personnel from Saxonburg, Buffalo Township and Unionville volunteer fire companies and even more from Armstrong County.

Doug Sprankle, owner of Sprankles Neighborhood Market in Saxonburg, said he heard about Henschel being missing and wanted to contribute.

“We have so many people that work in the store that keep me updated on local matters,” he said.

He said he donated several cases of water, close to 200 bottles, for the search parties early Friday.

Nancy Zacherl, who said she lives and operates her business near the search area, picked up the water to take it to crews around 7:30 a.m.

“I took over bug spray, sunscreen ... my friend bought some water,” said Zacherl, a State Farm Insurance agent.

She said she, her husband and son also aided the search.

“We walked all the way around our farm twice last night. We have 100 acres,” she said.

Sprankle said he showed up to the search area that morning as well, and when he parked his car, he heard Henschel had been found.

According to Trooper Bertha Cazy, public information officer with Troop D, Henschel was located in the woods by crew members at 9:04 a.m. Friday.

Sprankle said he was incredibly relieved to hear the news.

“I was just so happy, as we’ve experienced in the past, sometimes that doesn’t always end happily,” he said. “It’s nice to have a positive story.”

“Thankfully, he wasn’t all that far away from where his car was,” Thiele said. “We all kind of assumed the worst. Thankfully, we were wrong.”

Zacherl said the situation speaks to what good can come from people working together.

“The community sure pitches in when someone needs something,” she said. “I was so thankful that everyone pitched in to help locate him. It was just a miracle they found him safe.”

Search & Rescue finish up their search for David Henschel after he was found around 9:04 a.m. on Friday, June 21. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle
Saxonburg Volunteer Fire Company directs traffic while state Trooper Bertha Cazy talks with volunteers during a search for David Henschel at the Thiele Farm on Friday, June 21. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle
State Troopers walk down Thiele Farm road during the search for David Henschel on Friday, June 21. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle
David Henschel leaves in an ambulance at Thiele Farm after a search for him was conducted on Friday, June 21. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle

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