Harry Burleigh found

After 17 nights, Harry Burleigh, a Roseburg resident who had been missing for 17 days, was found alive by searchers.

A Roseburg man missing for 17 days in the Twin Lakes area near Toketee was found safe Sunday.

Harry Burleigh, 69, had gone to the area for an overnight camping and fishing trip in the Twin Lakes area, but one wrong turn led to a nearly three-week-long search and rescue mission.

Sunday, a group of searchers from Jackson County Search and Rescue were returning to their base at the Twin Lakes trailhead when they called out to Burleigh and he responded.

“He was very thankful to have been found,” Douglas County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Brad O’Dell said Tuesday morning. “One of the searchers said, ‘If anybody wants a hug, Mr. Burleigh is handing them out for free.’”

Details are still emerging about Burleigh’s time in the woods as he is recuperating at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend. A spokesperson for the hospital confirmed that Burleigh was receiving care as of Tuesday morning, but declined to provide an update on his condition.

“He had indicated he had started to hike in, but lost the trail somewhere along the way and never made it to the lakes at all,” O’Dell said, relaying information he had received from those who had had contact with Burleigh. “Before he knew it, it was nightfall.”

On May 16, searchers located a makeshift shelter and a fishing tackle box they identified as belonging to Burleigh. They left Burleigh some supplies, a lighter, asked Burleigh to start a fire, and left a note that said “we will be back tomorrow to get you.”

Finding out what happened was not the top priority for the sheriff’s office when they found Burleigh, O’Dell said. Instead, the focus was to get him safely out of the woods and to the hospital.

“There are a lot of details we’re anxious to find out as well,” O’Dell said. “This was a wonderful outcome and what we were hoping for. Statistically, it did not seem probable.”

O’Dell said the phone call from Douglas County Search and Rescue Deputy Dave Ward to Burleigh’s wife, Stacy, was very joyous.

“Everybody at that point was starting to grow very concerned,” O’Dell said. “Nobody had lost hope but it was starting to become a very big concern. When she got that phone call, it was just a huge relief.”

Search and rescue teams from nine Oregon counties, three California counties and various other agencies — including the United States Forest Service and Wolf Creek Job Corps Hotshots — assisted in the search for Burleigh.

Donovan Brink can be reached at dbrink@nrtoday.com and 541-957-4219.

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Cops and Courts Reporter

Donovan Brink is the cops and courts reporter for The News-Review.

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