California Man Missing From Wisconsin Leads To Search In Arizona


Norbert “Tony” Dantzman
Norbert “Tony” Dantzman

The Cochise County Sheriff’s Search And Rescue Unit became involved this week in a nationwide search for a California man with dementia who disappeared from a Wisconsin motel two months ago.

Volunteer searchers were at the Love’s Travel Stop located off Interstate 10 in Benson twice this week in response to possible sightings of Norbert “Tony” Dantzman. The 89-year-old was last seen Aug. 30 in northwest Wisconsin after flying from California with his daughter for a family reunion.

The gathering in Winter, Wisconsin was to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the homesteading of the family farm but Dantzman never made it to the event. Instead, he appears to have walked away from a motel, leaving his wallet behind.

Wisconsin authorities brought in a canine to help with the search for Dantzman. His scent was tracked from the hotel to a nearby road, suggesting he left the area after getting into a vehicle. Whether it was voluntary or not is unknown, but there has been no further confirmed sighting of Dantzman.

Dantzman is described as 5’ 9” tall, weighing 140 pounds, and has a crooked index finger on one hand. The family has created a Facebook page to spread word of Dantzman’s disappearance.

“Due to his dementia, he could be completely unaware he is lost or missing,” his granddaughter posted. “He could be trying to make his way home to California or somewhere else he frequented in his past.”

Dantzman previously visited Benson with his late wife, so recent reports of possible sightings in the area led a member of his family to visit and review surveillance video from at least one business. Meanwhile, search and rescue volunteers were at the sprawling 10-acre Love’s complex on Monday and Tuesday.

Despite the possible sightings, the search turned up no evidence that Dantzman has been in Benson, sheriff’s spokeswoman Carol Capas said Tuesday night.  No further information was available on whether additional efforts are planned in the area.

Anyone who may have seen Dantzman in Arizona is encouraged to call the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office at 520-432-9500. The main missing person investigation is being handled by Det. Bryan Deyo of the Sawyer County (Wisc.) Sheriff’s Department at 715-634-5213.