MORRISVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) — A Morrisville man who was missing for weeks after his SUV was found wrecked under an overpass in Morrisville returned home Saturday night, friends, family and police told CBS 17 on Sunday morning.
Police had been working to find 56-year-old Dale Wheeler ever since friends and colleagues reported him missing on Nov. 16.
As part of the investigation, Morrisville police learned the North Carolina State Highway Patrol had found Wheeler’s wrecked SUV under an overpass off Church Street on Nov. 13. The SUV, which had crashed into a trailer, had significant front-end damage and investigators found a small amount of blood inside.
Friends and family conducted multiple searches, including one on Friday, just a day before he returned home.
Morrisville police told CBS 17 on Nov. 22 that they had no solid leads in the case and said they were “extremely concerned” for Wheeler.
“It’s kind of a mystery as to what happened and where he is,” friend Denise Spinelli told CBS 17 on Friday. “It’s just very disheartening that it’s taken so long and there’s been so much outpouring from the community to help us and we can’t seem to locate him.”
Wheeler’s loved ones described him as a kind person who enjoys tennis and they hoped their efforts would lead to some answers soon.
“He was my friend and everybody deserves to be found,” Spinelli said. “He’s a good person and I would do it for anybody. I want him to be found and if he is not alive, I want him to be able to be put to rest.”
Although Wheeler returned home Saturday night, the mystery of what happened has still not been completely solved.
Spinelli told CBS 17’s Sean Cudahy on Sunday that she’s currently with Wheeler and that “He is lucid, but shook up, of course.”
A family member also confirmed that Wheeler returned home, saying that he’s “alive and being treated at a hospital.”
Morrisville’s Interim Police Chief Peter Acosta also said that Wheeler was found and is being treated at a local hospital.
Spinelli said Wheeler made it back Saturday night after reaching out to family members.
“He made it to his condo, cold and tired. He emailed his brother and sister-in-law last night asking for help. Please get the word out and thank the community and police for all their support,” she said.
Morrisville police officials told CBS 17 that officers responded to a welfare check at Wheeler’s home Sunday morning at approximately 7:40 a.m. and found him sitting in his living room.
“There’s no visible signs of injury to him. [We’re] not sure if there’s any head trauma or anything like that related to the crash,” said Morrisville Police Sgt. Jason Miller. “He says he was out looking for his phone [in the woods].”
Wheeler told police he believed the crash happened just three days ago.
Miller said there are a “couple things [investigators are] following up on right now,” namely a few leads “that we were working on since yesterday, anyway.”
Spinelli said that if this ordeal proves anything it’s that “Miracles do happen.”
Police said that they aren’t ruling anything out in terms of theories on what happened. The investigation into the crash and Wheeler’s disappearance is ongoing.