Sheriff praises searchers who found body in Northern WI wilderne - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Sheriff praises searchers who found body in Northern WI wilderness


MARINETTE COUNTY, Wis. -- The Marinette County Sheriff is praising the efforts of searchers who navigated "godforsaken territory" to locate the body of a missing man.

The man has been identified as Jacob William Gleason, 19, from Houghton, Michigan.

The investigation continues into how Gleason ended up in deep in a remote area of the woods. Sheriff Jerry Sauve says it is believed Gleason was traveling to Houghton.

Gleason's abandoned car was found near Brown Spur Road in the Town of Niagara on the snowmobile trail on Sunday afternoon.

"His vehicle was up in this area here. And then Brown Spur goes over to Barlow Lake Road, and goes north. He was way up in here, a couple of miles north, and then in the woods this way and back down, into some godforsaken territory," Sheriff Sauve says.

Niagara firefighters located frozen remains in the wilderness at about 8:30 Sunday night.

"They found out that the vehicle was overdue en route to Houghton. We contacted the authorities up there, the investigation then started to roll," says Sheriff Jerry Sauve. "The vehicle was abandoned, and it looked like whoever had been in it was in peril, because they left on foot. Of course it’s been very cold."

It was late. The firefighters had little power remaining for their cell phones. They weren't sure of their exact location.

"I was becoming increasingly concerned about their welfare. Because number one: they didn’t know exactly where they were. They had tracked these footprints, but obviously the person they were tracking had become disoriented and was circling way off in the wilderness. This is big country and it’s thick hard woods with rugged terrain," Sheriff Sauve said.

These firefighters stayed with the body and made a fire to stay warm.

"Their cell phone power was down to 20 percent, so we were limiting dispatch contact with them," the sheriff said. "Fortunately, they were really using their heads by staying together. And they were able to start a fire with some bark and dry leaves and twigs."

Firefighters took turns carrying the body out of the woods.

The sheriff says these six firefighters went above and beyond the call of duty.

"I can tell you, from being out there last night and helping, that’s rugged terrain. The snow was coming down hard, and we were following the footprints in and up over rocks and fallen trees and hills. And I’m very grateful that we got out of there and everybody was safe," Sheriff Sauve says.

The remains were handed over to the Marinette County Coroner's Office. An autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday.

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