By DON O'BRIEN
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
A 10-hour search for a missing Quincy man ended early Thursday evening when searchers found his body in a heavily wooded area between two Quincy parks near the Mississippi River.
Quincy police reported the body of David W. Leonard, 53, was found around 6:10 p.m. in a creek bed in the area of Bob Bangert Park and Park Heights Park. No cause for the death has been established, and police are still investigating the circumstances of Leonard's death.
Leonard, 1329 North Sixth, was last seen by family members about 4:50 a.m. Wednesday morning. Family members found Leonard's vehicle at Gardner Park, located near Third and Locust, about 7:30 p.m. Wednesday night. A full-scale search for Leonard began about 8 a.m. Thursday. Leonard's body was found north of where his vehicle was found.
David Prendergast, Leonard's 21-year grandson, said Leonard frequented Gardner Park and other parks along the Mississippi River. Prendergast said Leonard has lived in Quincy since February and that Leonard did not have a cellphone on him at the time of his disappearance.
Prendergast said Leonard had a drinking problem.
"This is the only time he hasn't been able to make it home (after drinking)," Prendergast said about 10 a.m. Thursday. "The last couple of times in the last week he has been carried home by the police. He didn't even know where he was at."
Prendergast said family members took Leonard's vehicle back to his home Wednesday night and then returned to Gardner Park to try to find him. He said it got too dark to continue the search Wednesday night. Prendergast said the family called police Thursday morning.
The Adams County Emergency Management Agency's search-and-rescue team was called in about 8 a.m. Thursday to start the search. More than 70 people searched throughout the day for Leonard.
"This is not the most gentle terrain along the bluffs out here," said John Simon, director of the Adams County Emergency Management Agency.
Simon said that between 40 and 50 trained searchers were working Thursday afternoon and that more than 70 people had been at the site at some point during the day trying to find Leonard, a 5-foot-7, 160-pound man.
Simon said emergency rescue crews from Brown, Pike and Menard counties aided in the search.
All entrances to Gardner Park were blocked to traffic during the search. The main parking lot at Gardner Park where Leonard's vehicle was found served as a staging area for the rescue efforts. In addition to using people on the ground, Adams County EMA used a drone for an aerial search of the area.