A Lake County man, identified as 52 year-old Michael Eugene Wheeler, was found dead in the Mission Mountains area after a search that began Monday night.

Lake County Sheriff Don Bell said Wheeler became separated from his son at about 10:30 p.m. on Monday.

“The son called in and said he and his dad had become separated due to a heavy snowstorm that blew in,” said Sheriff Bell. “We called out search and rescue along with local volunteers and went up and searched. Then, the search continued yesterday with a new team, and we probably had up to 50 people out searching.”

Bell said Wheeler’s body was located early Tuesday morning.

“At about 10:45 in the morning we went up and recovered him, and his body has been sent to the Montana State Crime Lab in Missoula,” he said.

Bell urged caution for anyone who chooses to walk or hike in the mountains during winter weather conditions.

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