Sheriff’s Dept. searches property for remains of missing man

Investigators from the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department and The Wisconsin State Crime Lab used cadaver dogs and backhoes to search an area around an abandoned home in the Town of Wilson last Thursday and Friday searching for the remains of a man who has been missing since 1996.

Last week LCSD investigators received additional information in the disappearance of Ben Wilberding, who was 21 when he was last seen on May 24, 1996 at the property where the search took place. The property contains a rundown trailer that Wilberding’s parents owned on County Road CC in the Town of Wilson. Although his parents have been dead for several years, members of Wilberding’s family have not given up the search for him. They sat in the yard of the home across the road from the search site watching as investigators worked.

On Thursday dogs from the Head Waters Search Group brought K9 units to the scene that specialize in cadaver scenting.

??¢??????¯Sheriff Jeff Jaeger along with his Investigators conducted an extensive search of areas identified by the K-9 teams as areas of interest. Members of the Wisconsin State Crime Lab were requested and assisted, along with heavy equipment provided by the Lincoln County Highway Department.??¢??????¯ Despite the day long search no sign of human remains were found on the property.

The investigators returned the next day to sift through the dirt that had been unearthed but no remains were found. They called off the search late in the day.

Wilberding’s sister Candie Wetenkamp of Tomahawk vowed to continue the search, hiring equipment herself to dig, if need be.

Jaeger would not elaborate into the nature of the information that had led the investigators to believe that Wilberding’s remains were buried on the property.

The LCSD considers the investigation into Wilberding’s disappearance an active case. If you have any information regarding Ben Wilberding you are asked to call the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office at 715-453-574 or 715-536-6272. You may also call Crime Stoppers of Lincoln County at 715-536-3726 or 1-800-222-TIPS. Callers to Crime Stoppers may remain anonymous and may qualify for a cash reward.

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