BendFamily thanks volunteers in search for Bend man found in 12-foot-deep dry...

Family thanks volunteers in search for Bend man found in 12-foot-deep dry well

Family thanks volunteers in search for Bend man found in 12-foot-deep dry well

Family thanks volunteers in search for Bend man found in 12-foot-deep dry well

The family of a Bend man who went missing for two days before being found is thanking those who stepped forward in the search for him. Police now say the dry well he was found in was 10-to-12 feet and that he had been there almost the entire time he was missing.

Stacia McLerran and her family were starting to lose hope after her brother, John McLerran, left to get coffee on Christmas Day and never returned.

“It had been two days, and a lot of us were like, maybe we need to start having conversations about this not ending well,” Stacia said.

Then she received a call on Wednesday. John was found alive, stuck in a dry well in the parking lot of a storage complex.

Bend Police confirmed Thursday that the dry well was 10-to-12 feet. The initial report stated he was “stuck about 6 feet below street level in a dry well…” Despite John’s 6 foot 5 inch height, he was still about six feet away from reaching the surface.

“After the shock faded, people were like, ‘It’s really him,’” she said. “It was just like overwhelming relief and like a surge of adrenaline.”

RELATED: Bend man missing 2 days found stuck in dry well; in good condition, police say

Workers at Norton Street Storage said John rented out a unit, then immediately canceled. Still, he’d have to pay for the unit for 30 days.

Those same workers then recognized John’s face as photos of him circulated with community members eager to find him. The employees went to check inside his unit but didn’t find him. But they found his voice, calling for help.

“He wasn’t there, and when he was walking back to the office, he’s like, ‘Maybe I’ll check the security footage, see if he came by,’” Stacia said. “He heard John yelling for help and it took him a while, I guess, to find him.”

 

“The police came out, the fire department came out, and they helped get him out,” she added. “He couldn’t get out on his own and immediately took him to the hospital.”

Bend Police told Central Oregon Daily that footage they’ve obtained shows John entered the well on his own.

The family is still unsure how or why John was in the well, saying he doesn’t recall much.

“The police told me the security camera footage at the storage unit doesn’t show, and John doesn’t remember,” Stacia said. “He’s been traumatized the last couple of days. So we don’t have any answers on that, unfortunately.”

What the family does know is that it was the countless volunteers who spent their time searching and going the extra mile that made this rescue possible.

“I always thought it sounded cliche that people in that situation would say it’s so heartwarming the way the community came together,” Stacia said. “But like, it was really like, those are the only words for it. It was like really amazing and overwhelming. And I keep saying thank you to people and I feel like it’s not enough, like so many people did more than I would have ever expected.”

The family says John is still recovering and he’s doing well.

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