Winter storm halts search for missing hiker in Colorado

2014-03-18T19:40:00Z 2014-03-25T18:19:26Z Winter storm halts search for missing hiker in ColoradoTimes Staff nwitimes.com
March 18, 2014 7:40 pm  • 

A winter storm has halted search and rescue efforts near Vail, Colo., where officials were searching for Dr. James McGrogan, of Chesterton, who was reported missing Friday.

Jessie Mosher, administrative manager and public information officer for the Eagle County Sheriff's Department, said Sheriff Joseph Hoy had notified members of McGrogan's family about the development.

Mosher said the storm has brought heavy snow, low visibility and low temperatures to the Vail area.

She said no signs of McGrogan were found Tuesday before the search was called off, and no date has been set for the search to resume.

Family members on Tuesday morning continued to wait and pray for news about McGrogan, who went missing during a hiking trip.

McGrogan’s sister-in-law Kathy Welsh Ahrendt, of Valparaiso, said McGrogan’s wife, Sharon Welsh, his mother, Arlene McGrogan, and his brother Nick McGrogan have flown to Colorado to be close to the search efforts.

Meanwhile, family members in Porter County are holding out hope for good news from Colorado officials.

”At this time we are still extremely hopefully and praying for Jim’s return to safety,” Ahrendt said. “We’re pulling together tighter as a family, and we’re praying the Colorado authorities have a breakthrough today.”

McGrogan, 39, is a 1993 graduate of Chesterton High School and a graduate of the Indiana University School of Medicine. McGrogan was on a hiking trip with three friends near Vail, Colo., when he went ahead of the group Friday afternoon, according to media reports.

The friends told authorities McGrogan had a pack with food, water, medical supplies, a GPS and tools with him when he went missing.

Ahrendt said McGrogan and his family had moved back to Porter County last summer from Wisconsin. He started a new a job at St. Joseph Regional Medical Center in Mishawaka as an emergency room physician in February.

Ahrendt said she has been busy trying to keep family and friends in the area in the know about efforts in Colorado.

But she said there has not been much news to report, which is frustrating.

“It’s so hard to wait,” she said. “We’re hoping today’s the day we hear some kind of news.”

She said the family is thankful for support from family and friends.

“A lot of people are showing their love,” she said. “We would just like to thank everyone for all of their prayers and their support during this difficult time.”

While the family waits for news, St. Joseph Regional issued a statement on McGrogan.

“Dr. McGrogan joined the SJRMC medical staff in February as a partner of Valley Emergency Physicians,” the statement said. “We ask that you say a special prayer for Dr. McGrogan, his wife, family and the devoted rescue personnel searching for him.”

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