Body of hunter recovered from Shawnee National Forest
RUDEMENT, Ill. – The body of a turkey hunter was recovered Thursday morning in Shawnee National Forest.
Saline County Central Dispatch received a call of a lost turkey hunter shortly before 3 p.m. Wednesday. Saline County Deputies and officers from the U.S. Forest Service began a search on top of Eagle Mountain near Stoneface at 3:30 p.m. for Joseph W. Thatcher, 62, of Wilmington, Illinois.
Search and Rescue dogs from the Ohio River Valley Search and Rescue from Evansville, Indiana arrived at 7 p.m. Wednesday, joined with deputies, forest service officers, Illinois Department of Conservation officers, Illinois State Police officers and Air Evac to search for Mr. Thatcher.
Overnight listening posts were maintained in the forest area and search operations resumed at 7:30 a.m. Thursday morning. Search crews from Carrier Mills, New Burnside, Harrisburg Fire Departments, U.S. Forest Service, Illinois Department of Conservation, Saline County Sheriff’s Office and Saline County EMA assisted the Ohio Valley Search and Rescue teams.
At 2 p.m. Thatcher was located and pronounced dead at the scene by the Saline County Coroner’s Office. Saline County Coroner Jerry Watson is investigating the death of Mr. Thatcher, but preliminary results indicate that Thatcher died of natural causes.