WILDWOOD, Mo. – First responders and volunteer searchers gathered Tuesday at Glencoe City Park off Highway 109 in Wildwood, and just down the road from the Al Foster Memorial Trailhead. They were there to search for Carol Schulte, who St. Louis County police say went for a hike Monday morning and never returned.
The search was called off for the day early Tuesday afternoon after finding no sign of the 72-year-old.
“We’ve checked the cellphone records and pinged the towers. This was her last location. She turned her phone off at 7:04 (Monday),” said Greg Schulte, Carol Schulte’s stepson.
Schulte’s minivan was found in a parking lot at the trailhead, which is a jumping-off point for several trails along the Meramec River.
“It’s a very commonplace for people to bike or hike or run. There’s numerous paths across this area. Once you get off the paths, it can be pretty rough terrain,” said Lt. Matt Koppin, Metro West Fire Protection District.
The family reported her missing Monday and a smaller search was done. When nothing turned up, the larger search was planned for Tuesday morning.
“Ground search, people on foot, drone technology, we’ve had our Metro Air Support helicopter in the air, as well as canine units,” Koppin said.
More than 150 first responders and volunteers came out to help look for Carol.
“They went back and forth several times with different grids with different dogs and different search patterns,” Greg Schulte said. “They didn’t get any scents or any indication of where she might be. Rain is coming in. To go to a wider search pattern, they would have needed infinite number of more people to have any impact. So, they decided that for the day, there’s nothing more they can do today.”
Some of the volunteer searchers who came out Tuesday knew Carol and others didn’t.
“When we heard that she was missing, we…we had other plans for the day, but we thought, we need to get out there and help. Again, if it were me, I’d want people to be looking for me as well,” said volunteer Trish Lueken.
“On behalf of the family, it was just absolutely heartwarming to see the community…it brings out the best. Everybody pulled together,” Greg said. “We didn’t get the result that we wanted, but it’s not because we didn’t try. It was just amazing.”
St. Louis County police say they do not suspect foul play in the disappearance of Carol Schulte. If you are someone that frequents these trails for hiking or running, police and the family ask that you keep your eyes open for any sign of Carol or her presence on the trails and report anything to police.