Saturday, October 25, 2014

News
Wyoming Rancher Finds Missing Wisconsin Couple
by Mike Strehlow


Park County, Wyoming--  A Wisconsin couple's dream vacation to Yellowstone National Park ended with six days lost in unfamiliar territory, and wouldn't you know...a rancher came to the rescue.

"I drove up the road and they were right in the middle of the road.  Their condition was great,  they had plenty of fuel, they were warm....just glad, glad to see somebody after six days," Troy Barnett told CBS 58's Mike Strehlow by phone today.

Barnett owns the K Bar Z Guest Ranch in Cody, Wyoming.  When the Park County Sheriff's Department put out the call to help find Mark and Kristine Wathke from Cornell, Wisconsin, Barnett didn't hesitate.  He trailered his snowmobile 26 miles to the northeast section of Yellowstone National Park where the Wathke's were last seen nearly a week ago, and started searching.

Not knowing it had been closed since early September because of early season snow, Mark and Kristine drove onto Highway 212, known as the Bear Tooth Highway.  They became stuck in the snow in their 2012 Kia Forte and spent six days and nights waiting for someone to come to the rescue.  Although they didn't have cell service, their car had plenty of gas and other supplies to help them weather sub-freezing temperatures.

Barnett said "Yeah they had water, they didn't have much for food, just a few crackers they said.  But as far as medical condition, they were in great shape, they didn't need any medical attention."  

Barnett said the Rathke's decided not to leave their car because they didn't know whether there were any towns or homes nearby in the remote section of Wyoming.