This week's winter storm that's crossing western South Dakota undoubtedly complicated the search for 66-year-old Larry Genzlinger of Howard, who has remained missing since Oct. 1. He had been hunting elk in the Black Hills.
Valerie Kuhl of Lake Madison, Genzlinger's cousin, credited the men and women who were searching for her relative in the Deerfield Lake area, which is located in the middle of the Black Hills. The terrain was already described as difficult, steep and "...a challenge to the search effort."
A KOTA-TV news report from Tuesday -- the most recent report from the Black Hills -- described the search area as having "...vast open expanses, as well as incredibly dense and remote woods." The Pennington County Sheriff's Department was searching with helicopters, drones and ground-search teams riding horses and using search dogs. Search teams are using GPS units to record what areas are covered during the operation.
A midweek snowstorm is complicating matters for searchers working in the Black Hills National Forest with 4 to 6 inches of snow expected in the Rapid City area. Another 6 to 10 inches of snow is expected to fall in the northern Black Hills late Thursday, according to the National Weather Service. Gusty winds are also expected in the West River region.
In an email, Kuhl stated, "Today's weather will certainly hamper the search efforts." She said Genzlinger's relatives in eastern South Dakota had difficulties staying current with the latest information about the search due to the distance to the Black Hills and poor cell-phone reception in some West River areas.
Genzlinger went missing while elk hunting in the Deerfield Lake area 10 days ago. He and a nephew separated for their hunt, but Genzlinger did not return to their meeting spot later in the day.
Genzlinger is Caucasian with brown eyes, gray hair and a gray beard. He is 5-9 and weighs 250 pounds. Genzlinger was last seen wearing a camouflage jacket and pants and a black Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation baseball cap.
Genzlinger is considered endangered because he was diagnosed with congestive heart failure as well as diabetes and likely has been without food and insulin.
Forecasters have predicted a 20% chance of more snow in the Rapid City area on Friday. The weather in the region should clear on Saturday.