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Search for Emmet Co. missing man now at a standstill

UPDATE 11/30/23 5:55 p.m.

The search for the elderly missing man from Emmet County, David Moffett, is now at a standstill.

The Emmet County Sheriff’s Department said there have been no more new leads in the case and with hunting season in full swing, it’s too risky to have people out searching the woods.


Moffett has been missing since September after he never came back from walking his dog. His dog returned home at the beginning of October without him.

Flyers were posted in sporting goods stores recently to alert hunters about Moffett,  in case they come across him in a remote area.

Moffett’s name was added to the National Missing Persons Database but since then no real tips have come in.

Emmet County Emergency Management officials said they still have hope he will be found but says it might not happen until spring after the snow is gone, another setback to the search efforts.


UPDATE 11/20/23 5:28p.m.

EMMETT COUNTY —Emmet County emergency officials said there’s still no sign of the 70-year-old David Moffet, who suffers from dementia.

Moffet is now on the National Missing Person’s Database and emergency officials have been placing flyers in sports shops and places where you can get hunting licenses to ask hunters to keep an eye out for Moffet.

They also asked the DNR for them to put out a communication to hunters.


The Emmet County Sheriff’s office also plans to hold a townhall meeting on Nov. 28 at 7 p.m. at Pellston High School to hold an overview of the search.

Moffet went missing back at the end of September. He was last seen walking his dog in Levering. The dog returned home at the beginning of October but still no sign of Moffet.

UPDATE 10/7/23 10:30 p.m.

Nathan Moffett, the son on David Moffett says that the search for his father is shifting to a stimulus-based search, meaning that when officials receive reliable tips, emergency operations will be deployed.


Around 150 community members continue to search daily while other operations are shifting their main focus to the weekends.

Nathan says that people should be on the lookout for Stella’s dog collar and leash, a pocketknife, a watch, the hat that Moffett was wearing, and even a white handkerchief.

Nathan says if you cannot join the search, you can keep up and help post on the David Moffett Search and Rescue Facebook page which you can find here.

UPDATE 10/5/23 6:45 p.m.

EMMET COUNTY — The emergency manager for Emmet County, Matt Blythe, said first responders and volunteers were re-energized after finding David Moffet’s dog Stella six days into the search.

“We took her out for a walk after she had a little bit of a rest. She took us out to one of the powerline easements where we were able to spot her footprints coming back into the house. So it gave us that indication of where she had come from. And that has really helped our search kind of gain some momentum in a specific direction for today,” Blythe said.

Blythe said they’ve been able to narrow down the search area to just over 30 square miles.

“We started getting more volunteers coming in, wanting to help with the idea that now we have a little more focus. So they’re starting to understand that the time really is of the essence, where we’re really in a time crunch. The weather is changing significantly at this point,” he said.

Blythe said they have three search teams in the field doing basic line searches in areas Moffet frequently took his dog on walks and also searching areas in and around Moffet’s home.

Blythe said Moffett is very familiar with the lay of the land and took walks often.

“He wandered around a lot. He was a good outdoorsman. Used to hike in camp Royal. He’s has walked the North Country trail before. You know, he liked to be out, like to be doing things. Was very used to Northern Michigan,” said Blythe.

Blythe said the dog’s return is their best shot at locating Moffet so far.

“He left without his phone. He left without his wallet, left without any of his ID’s, nothing tracking. The family had been taking steps for the Medicare for we care bracelets that provide that GPS tracking for elderly with dementia. And it arrived that day with being scheduled to be put on that Saturday after he disappeared,” said Blythe.

But for family friend and volunteer, Pat Tuck, he’s not discounting anything.

He said last time Moffet walked off, he was saying things that weren’t true. without taking his meds for Alzheimer’s, he may be confused.

“When he got out two weeks ago for his first missing disappearance, and he asked for a ride to Rogers City. He’s not affiliated with Roger City. I spoke with a man today who saw him two weeks ago, and David said he lived in Petoskey. He does not live in Petoskey,” said Tuck.

Blythe said they will keep looking at least through the weekend.

“It’s still considered right now we’re still considering it a rescue until we get further guidance and, uh, until we run out of some of those resources,” said Blythe.

Moffet’s son Nathan said they need more volunteers for an expanded search this weekend.

He said more county emergency officials from other counties, the coast guard, and search teams from downstate are coming up to assist with the search.

Nathan said they want as many volunteers as they can to help.

For more information, please click on this link.

UPDATE 10/4/23 3:45 p.m.

EMMET COUNTY — The Emmet County Sheriff’s Office says Stella, David Moffett’s dog who went missing with him on Sept. 29, has returned home.

They say “this heartwarming development brings hope to the search for David.”

10/2/23 6:40 p.m.

EMMET COUNTY — Officials need your help locating a man in Emmet County.

David Moffett, 70, went missing around 10 a.m. on Sept. 29 after going on a walk with his dog, Stella.

Moffet was last seen walking his dog in Levering, according to Michigan State Police. He was last seen wearing brown pants, a green sweater, a checkered shirt and a baseball cap, state police said.

Moffett has gray hair and brown eyes and is around 5-9. Moffett is said to suffer from dementia, and is described as low-functioning, and he may not remember where he lives.

If you see him, you are asked to call 911 immediately. You can also call the Emmet County Sheriff’s Office with details.

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