Drone, horseback searches don’t turn up missing Spearfish man

DEADWOOD — Law enforcement continue to follow up on leads regarding a Spearfish man who went missing nearly a month ago, but search attempts are turning up negative.

“We’re still following up on a few things, and we’ll probably bring back the cadaver dogs when we get a prolonged thaw, in April or so,” said Deadwood Police Chief Kelly Fuller Monday. “We went into the search area again Feb. 2. Somebody on horseback combed the area with negative results. We also did another drone flight that day, also with negative results.”

The “hot spot” area that continues to be searched is the last area from which 28-year-old Christopher Oien’s cell phone last pinged.

It encompasses an area that extends from the Days of ’76 Rodeo Grounds across the street to the brown rocks area to the top of Burnham Avenue to Starr Street and Spring Creek Street and down.

This area has been combed by law enforcement conducting drone searches, a grid search, two teams of cadaver dogs, a canine unit, and other agencies involved in the search. A swift water rescue team also failed to locate Oien during a search of the box culvert that runs from Railroad Street through Deadwood. 

The last time Oien was seen in town was on videotape Jan. 15 around 1:44 a.m., after he gathered his belongings from the hotel he checked into for a Sunday stay-over and left. 

Footage of Oien was captured on a Deadwood Welcome Center parking lot camera making his way through the parking lot on the opposite side of the street from the former Four Aces and making his way up Volin Street, up toward Williams Street.

Oien was last seen wearing a lightweight black and blue jacket with a hoodie underneath, baseball cap, and jeans. He is 6 feet tall, weighs 155 pounds, and has strawberry blond hair and blue eyes.

Information continues to actively be gathered on the case, and those having any information that would help in the search are asked to contact law enforcement.

The Deadwood Police Department can be reached at 578-2623 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office is available for contact any time by calling 578-2230.

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