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By Kim Ring TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF

NORTH BROOKFIELD- Those closest to retired state police Capt. Ronald S. Gray are hopeful that the man who survived a brutal attack in Vietnam will be found safe in the woods of northeast Idaho, where he vanished last month while hunting.

"If he's just lost, he can fend for himself," said retired state police Lt. Col. John Cunningham, who is Mr. Gray's longtime friend. "But if he got injured ... I'm afraid that by this time, he could be running out of resources."

Mr. Gray, 62, was on an elk hunting trip with at least one other person from his hometown of North Brookfield. When the trip was slated to end, Mr. Gray indicated he would stay on a few more days to hunt on his own. It was something he had done before because he was retired, North Brookfield Police Chief Aram Thomasian Jr. said.

But since Sept. 23, no one has seen or heard from him. Mr. Gray was supposed to meet up with others at Otter Butte in the Selway area of the NezPerce National Forest that day but he never arrived.

There have been unconfirmed reports of a radio transmission in which Mr. Gray said he had injured his knee and was trying to get back to camp, but it does not appear he ever returned. The date of the transmission is not clear. There is no cellular telephone service in the area, but Mr. Gray may have had more than one GPS unit with him.

He was reported missing Sept. 26 and was last known to be hunting in the Bitter Root Selway area from a remote camp on Mirror Lake Ridge.

The Idaho County Sheriff's Department has been searching the area on the ground and from the air for five days. Hillcrest Aviation and the Idaho Army National Guard are assisting. The Sheriff's Department Posse, a group of trained volunteers, is combing the area on foot, horseback and ATVs. About five searchers are on the ground and while that number seems small, it's normal for a search in the area where the terrain changes drastically, Idaho County Chief Deputy John J. Nida said.

Some searchers are camped out in the area, tending a campfire all night in the hopes that Mr. Gray can find his way to them. Yesterday, a Black Hawkhelicopter was used in the effort.

While the search is extensive, covering about 5,200 square miles, some retired state police personnel who worked with Mr. Gray are having a hard time sitting at home waiting for word.

Retired Trooper Robert Benoit will fly to the area today. Mr. Cunningham is considering making the trip, as are other friends.

"The best-case scenario is that he's out there having the time of his life," Mr. Benoit said. "But it's not good when you don't communicate for so long, and he's not the type who would create any cause for worry."

Still, there is a chance that Mr. Gray isn't missing at all.

"We spoke to the last person that saw him and he said, 'Tell everybody not to worry about me. I'll walk out when I'm ready,' " Deputy Nida said last night, adding that if Mr. Gray doesn't know he's the subject of a search, it will probably be harder to find him.

Both Mr. Benoit and Mr. Cunningham said they want to be close by to be sure Idaho officials have everything they need to find their friend and to offer any assistance they can.

A Massachusetts State Police spokesman said the department knows Mr. Gray very well and officials there are monitoring the situation.

Lt. Gov. Timothy P. Murray spoke with Idaho's lieutenant governor to urge officials there to use all available resources to find Mr. Gray.

Deputy Nida said the county's search teams have a 90 percent success rate and it's been about two decades since someone was lost and never found in the wilderness there.

He said his department is aware of Mr. Gray's extensive survival training and that there is evidence that someone has used food caches stashed in the area by hunters, though it's unclear who might have done so.

But searchers are also worried because while he has equipment needed to build a fire, they have seen no signs of smoke, which they would expect Mr. Gray to use if he were trying to signal for help. Wildlife in the area includes grizzly bears that can weigh as much as 1,200 pounds, wolves and mountain lions.

Mr. Gray served in the Marine Corps and fought in Vietnam with the 1st Battalion, 9th Marines. The unit's members were known for turning down Purple Heart medals and staying to fight alongside their comrades.

"They were known as the Walking Dead," said Mr. Cummingham, who also served as a Marine.

"We rescue our own and that's why we want to help. We know he'd do it for us."

Mr. Gray also worked for the former Metropolitan District Commission police as a canine handler and joined the state police when the two departments merged in the early 1990s. Friends said his training with those departments would also help him if he is lost in the wilderness.

He is also a member of the North Brookfield Conservation Commission.

The area of the search is remote and the terrain rugged with steep mountains and deep draws but weather there has been "unseasonably warm," which had aided in the search, Chief Deputy Nida said.

Thunderstorms are expected to move in today and tomorrow through overnight; temperatures are not expected to drop below 50 degrees.

Chief Deputy Nida said he has been fielding calls from Massachusetts and said one way people can help would be to make donations to fund the helicopter searches.

He expects to have more information on how that can be done today.

http://www.telegram.com/article/20081002/NEWS/810020680/1116
 

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I have known Captain Gray for a long time. If anyone can come out of this ok he can.
 

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Retired MSP Captain Missing

http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2008/10/03/mass_hunter_missing_in_idaho/

Two weeks ago, despite a bruised knee, Ronald S. Gray, a retired State Police captain, said goodbye to two hunting buddies, shouldered a 100-pound backpack, and disappeared into the Idaho woods.

The experienced outdoorsman from North Brookfield, who survived two tours in Vietnam, was supposed to return to their base camp by Sept. 23. He never showed.
A day later, the Idaho County Sheriff's Office and the Idaho Army National Guard sent teams on horseback and helicopter to search Nez Perce National Forest, a rugged mountain area spanning about 8,500 square miles. They have yet to find a trace of Gray.
"If he can survive the jungles of Vietnam, he can survive this," Nancy Gray, his wife, said in a telephone interview yesterday. "This was his third trip to Idaho. He knew the area as best as anyone can. I know he can find food. He's eaten bugs and snakes before, so that's not an issue. He knows what to do about water and shelter. We're confident we'll see him again."
She thinks her husband may have misjudged the injury to his knee. His friends told her that he fell on a rock the day before he ventured off on his own to hunt for elk and deer. His knee was so swollen that he had skipped hunting for the day and soaked his knee in a cold stream. "He thought he was fine," she said.
Gray, 62, spent 26 years working for the state, first as an officer with the Metropolitan District Commission, and then as a trooper with the State Police after the agencies merged in 1992.
He worked in the canine unit with the MDC, and then as a trooper, Gray helped inspect other units to ensure they met standards, said David Procopio, a State Police spokesman.
Procopio said they have been in contact with Idaho authorities.
"We're monitoring the situation," Procopio said. "The Idaho authorities who know the terrain are best suited for this. We just hope he's found safe."
Deputy Chief John J. Nida of the Idaho County Sheriff's Office said his officers would search for Gray "as long as weather and resources permit."
He said Gray had a global positioning system, a solar-powered radio, warm clothing, and enough food and water to last more than a week. Local outfitters have stashed food and supplies throughout the area where he was hiking, he added.
"He's aware of where the caches are," Nida said.
He said the temperature in the area has been in the mid-80s over the past week, but is expected to drop this weekend. The first snows could fall soon.
Gray also may have to contend with grizzly bears, mountain lions, and wolves, but Nida said that in his 27 years working in the area, he has never heard of anyone attacked by such animals. And, if needed, he has protection. Gray was carrying a Remington 270 bolt action rifle and a gut knife.
Nida said the county's search teams have a 90 percent success rate. It has been about two decades since the county failed to track down someone lost in the woods, he added.

© Copyright 2008 Globe Newspaper Company.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Search KO riles pals of missing ex-trooper

By Dave Wedge
Tuesday, October 7, 2008 - Updated 1m ago


The Massachusetts State Police union wanted to send troopers to Idaho to help comb rugged terrain for a missing retired captain, but the request was rejected by the department, the Herald has learned.
"Retired Capt. Ronnie Gray is a good man, and we're willing to do anything we can as an association to make sure he is brought home," said Trooper Rick Brown, spokesman for the State Police Association of Massachusetts.
Sources said some troopers are upset the department denied the union's request to send officers west to help search for Gray, a 62-year-old retired tactical operations officer who has been missing since Sept. 19. A Vietnam vet and 35-year trooper, Gray vanished during a hunting trip in the Nez Perce National Forest. The search is being led by Idaho sheriffs and the U.S. Army National Guard.

"There are no plans to send anyone out there officially," Massachusetts State Police spokesman David Procopio said. "The Idaho authorities who know the terrain and know the geography are best suited for conducting the search. We continue to monitor the situation and hope he's found safe."
But one retired trooper who worked with Gray said the state should do its part to help bring the missing officer home.
"You've got a guy missing 14 days with his wife on TV pleading for help. It's just the right thing to do," said the trooper. "Anybody else you'd say he's dead by now, but not this guy. He's an outdoors guy."
The union's request was turned down in part because of the hazardous terrain, looming snow and fears that troopers could get hurt or lost, sources said. The union is expected to vote today to send money to Idaho to help pay for an $875-a-day Blackhawk chopper being used in the search.

http://bostonherald.com/news/region...7_Search_KO_riles_pals_of_missing_ex-trooper/
 

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I sent an email, and forwarded the link to the rest of my team, friends and famly..hopefully that will generate quite a few emails..
 
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What a sad story. I've been in that part of Idaho, in the woods on the Idaho/Montana border. It's a scary place, and I hope Captain Gray is somehow okay out there.
 

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Here is the email I received back from Steven Brewer...

Dear Mr. Bell,

Thank you for your e-mail. As a friend of Ronnie's for many years, I too am extremely worried for his well-being. I have been working on this issue continuously since receiving a phone call last Monday from Bob Benoit, a former State Trooper, and informed that Ronnie was missing. That very day, I spoke directly with Mark Delaney, Colonel of the Massachusetts State Police; Jim Leary, Chief of Staff to Lt. Governor Tim Murray; and Lt. Governor Murray to ensure that everything that can be done, is being done. Lt. Governor Murray informed me that he placed a call to the Idaho Governor's Office to ensure that this case was on their radar screen as well. I also placed a call to the Idaho County Sheriff's Office, which is heading up the search efforts for Ronnie. On Monday, the Sheriff's office held a briefing at 10 AM and I was informed that they will continue the search for at least 2 more days.

Yesterday, I spoke directly with Governor Patrick, who assured me that he would call the Idaho Governor directly to request that Idaho seek assistance from the National Guard for the ground search. Furthermore, Colonel Delaney has been in direct contact with Chief Deputy Nida and has also requested that the National Guard be included in the search. I remain viligant in my efforts to ensure that Ronnie returns home, safe and sound.

Sincerely,
Steve Brewer

Stephen M. Brewer, State Senator
Worcester, Hampden, Hampshire & Franklin
State House, Room 109B
Boston, MA 02133
t: 617-722-1540
f: 617-722-1078
 
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Idaho doesn't want the help. Unlike the MSO, the MSP is not going to force troopers on them. Idaho has teams trained, equipped, and covered (liability wise) for the area. Plus, with the budget the way it is, we area lucky if there is money to send a trooper from one end of the Commonwealth to the other end for a search.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
62-Year-Old Last Seen On Sept. 19

GRANGEVILLE, Idaho -- The Idaho County Sheriff's Office has suspended the search for a 62-year-old Massachusetts man who has been missing in rugged Idaho terrain since Sept. 19.

Ronald Gray, of North Brookfield, Mass., was on a hunting trip in the Nez Perce National Forest when he failed to meet his friends as expected at an outfitter's camp on Sept. 23. He was reported missing Sept. 28.

Gray is a retired Massachusetts state patrolman and an experienced outdoorsman.
Idaho County Sheriff Larry Dasenbrock called off the search because of poor weather and concern for the safety of the searchers. About 1,000 square miles of rugged terrain in the Selway area of the forest have been searched so far.

http://www.thebostonchannel.com/news/17722150/detail.html
 

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I have not heard or read anything..maybe someone on the MSP here has...Im guessing they called off the search....its a very sad story..if he passed I hope his family and friends will take solace in the fact he did doing something he loved.
 
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