Wednesday would have been the 59th birthday of a Redfield man who died in this weekend's blizzard.
Searchers found Kevin Cranston's body in a field on Monday. It was about a half to three-quarters of a mile from his house. He had walked away from his pickup after getting stuck.
Betty Cranston asked her son to stay at a motel in town when he was done with work on Sunday. But he decided to head home. When he hadn't arrived by 8:30 that night, she called law enforcement. Searchers on snow mobiles found Kevin's body at 6:00 a.m. Monday.
"I was relieved that they found him," Betty said. "I mean it was terrible but I was relieved that they found him."
When he didn't arrive home, searchers headed into the blizzard.
“Well, any time you have somebody that's missing, especially in a blizzard, it raises our level of concern," sheriff Kevin Schurch said.
Schurch got stuck with his four-wheel-drive vehicle when he drove into the country to search. Then authorities searched with a machine called a SnoBear. It’s designed to handle winter conditions and has a GPS. Schurch says that was important incase those inside got lost in the storm.
Authorities found Kevin Cranston's pickup at midnight. Tracks show he turned off U.S. Highway 212 onto a back road a few miles from Redfield. Then he turned into a field and continued driving in it until he got stuck in a ditch.
At some point he took off on foot, crossed over a fence toward his home but didn't make it. By the time searchers found him, it was too late.
"If it's blizzarding, don't go in the country because it's very dangerous. And Kevin thought it was okay because he had done it a million times but that was a bad storm," Betty said.
The sheriff echoes that warning and asks people to stay in their vehicles when stranded. He joined several others searching for Kevin, using equipment that can sense heat.
The loss is tough for many in town including the sheriff who graduated high school with Kevin. And on a day Betty Cranston planned to celebrate her son's birthday, she's instead preparing pictures to show at his funeral.
Betty thanks everyone who helped find her son. Neighbors even cleared roads for rescuers.
The sheriff is asking people to use this as a warning to pack a winter survival kit, especially now when there's a lot of snow on the ground. He says it won't take much to create blizzard conditions and drifts.