Joe Minnelli

Police found the body of an unknown person near the home of a 79-year-old man who has been missing since July 19.

On July 28, a state trooper and his K9 were near the home of Joseph Mindelli. At 1:38 p.m., the Dryden Township Police Department was told the body of an unknown person was found in the water of a small lake less than a mile from Mindelli’s home.

Dryden Township Police, as well as other law enforcement agencies, secured the scene and collected evidence. Police believe the body of the unknown person was in the water for some time.

Officers could not identify the unknown individual at the scene. The body was retrieved from the water and taken to the Lapeer County Medical Examiner’s Office.

The investigation is still ongoing. Officials are working to identify the body and expect an autopsy will determine the cause of death.

“The Dryden Township Police Department and the Mindelli family would like to extend our heartfelt thank you to all the agencies and volunteers that have provided an enormous amount of time and resources in this effort,” the Dryden Township Police Department wrote. “The Dryden Township Police Department is asking that everyone keep the Mindelli family in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.”

The Dryden Township Police Department was contacted by Lapeer County 911 at 1:52 p.m. on July 19 about the disappearance of Joseph Mindelli. Police met with Mindelli’s family. They discovered he wasn’t home about 7:30 a.m.

Police said Mindelli normally goes on morning walks and is an avid outdoorsman, but as time passed, the family became concerned and searched for him. Officers also searched the area when they arrived but found no sign of him.

Family, friends, and neighbors - as well as authorities from the Dryden Township Fire Department, Lapeer County Sheriff’s Office, Metamora Township Police Department, and Almont Police Department - worked together in the initial search.

Due to weather conditions and the geography around Mindelli’s home, police said more resources were needed in the search. Thermal imaging, aerial drones, ATVs, and K9 resources were used, but no signs of Mindelli were found.

Other teams from Oakland and Macomb county joined in the search. Volunteers from the community and the surrounding area came out by the hundreds to aid in search efforts.

Copyright 2021 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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