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Ira D. Lawrence

It was a combined effort, but ultimately, the Richland County Sheriff’s Office had one goal: To find Ira David Lawrence.

For five days, the sheriff’s office was out at Richland park searching for Lawrence after he was reported missing, and that goal was accomplished.

“The sheriff’s office was very happy to accomplish that mission and to be able to help that family get closure with the loss of their loved one. It does seem to make it easier for the family if they’re able to have the person back,” said Richland County Under Sheriff Bob Burnison, on behalf of the sheriff’s office.

Richland County Sheriff John Dynneson and the sheriff’s office spearheaded the search effort and was out on the scene since day one, but they are appreciative of all the help they received and all the people who came out to offer help, Burnison said.

Civilians showed up often throughout the search to help by bringing their own boats to go out on the water of the Yellowstone River and even flew overhead to see if they could spot anything.

On top of that, local businesses donated food and other resources and supplies to provide aid to those who were out there searching.

The culmination of the five days’ work on the search came to fruition Wednesday, Sept. 9, when Lawrence’s body was found.

Burnison said that on Saturday, Sept. 5, after Lawrence was reported missing, the Richland County Sheriff’s Office contacted the Williams County Dive Team (North Dakota) for help with the search.

Early on in the search process, the area of focus was determined to be between the point of where Lawrence was last seen to Richland Park, where the base of operations was.

Burnison said that at first, the dive team had the right equipment to find Lawrence (sonar, for example), but the boat they used was not made for lakes.

Once the dive team said they had the right boat, they came back out on Wednesday, a little after noon, and were able to find Lawrence around 2 p.m a little bit downstream of where he was last seen, Burnison said.

Burnison said the divers did not have to dive to find Lawrence, and that they found him closer to the middle of the river, in a shallower part.

Burnison said that the sheriff’s office is very appreciative for all the help it received and wanted to thank everyone who helped in any way.

He added that the sheriff’s office is happy for the family that they were able to get closure, saying that the sheriff’s office knew that the family was hurting after Lawrence was reported missing.

On the flip side, people from Watford City and McKenzie County in general were very appreciative of how the Richland County Sheriff’s Office was diligent in the search and that local civilians and businesses offered a lot of help.

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