Game wardens at Denton Creek near Lake Grapevine, Texas are continuing the search for 38-year-old Matthew Meinert who never returned from a father-son fishing trip earlier this week. Meinert and his 2-year-old son Oliver left for a fishing trip on Monday, but never came home.
A pair of boaters found Meinert’s abandoned flat-bottom boat beached along the creek not far from the boat launch. Inside the boat they found nothing but fishing gear, a pair of shoes, and a cellphone. Authorities were contacted and the Department of Public Safety began a helicopter search with the aid of the local Trophy Club, Roanoke, Flower Mound, and Lewisville police departments. The search party came up empty handed and the officers were sent home around 2:00 AM.
They returned shortly after dawn the following morning and found 2-year-old Oliver wandering scared and alone through the woods. Rescuers searching near the beached boat heard a crying sound and quickly found the toddler. The frightened young boy approached the officers with open arms and asked the rescuers for some juice. Oliver was wearing nothing more than shorts and a t-shirt. Apart from a few scratches Oliver was unharmed. He was taken to Cook Children’s hospital where he was reunited with his mother. Doctors were amazed the young boy had survived the night in such excellent condition.
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The 2-year-old was unable to provide rescuers any insight about what happened to his father. “As we deal with 2-year-olds, they don’t often say much. But after what he went through all night, we’re not surprised that his only concern is getting something to drink right now,” said Trophy Club Police Department spokeswoman Tracy Shields to Fox 4 reporters. The prevailing theory is that Meinert may have fallen overboard and the boat continued down the creek under its own power until it finally crashed against a tree and beached itself.
“There’s so many unknowns,” Texas Game Warden Capt. Tony Norton told KHOU News. “We have to turn over every stone to try to find him. And locate him. Luckily we found the child this morning and that was great. Hopefully we can find the father alive as well. We’re hopeful for that. We’re going to continue to look until we do find him.”
As of Friday morning Meinert has still not been found. The search has been scaled back, but still continues during daylight hours with the aid of dogs and drones. “You can only look under one rock so many times,” game warden Captain Cliff Swofford told the Dallas News. Helicopters and drones search from the air while the Flower Mound Fire department continues to search the creek by boat with sonar. “We’re not going to stop until we find him,” Swofford said.