Body of missing Mitchell native recovered in WyomingMichael Bender was 1976 graduate of MHS
By: Tom Lawrence, The Daily Republic
CASPER, Wyo. — The body of a Mitchell native who disappeared in Wyoming in December has been identified.
Casper police announced Tuesday they have identified the body found Monday in the North Platte River as that of Michael Melvin Bender.
Bender, a longtime Casper resident who was born and grew up in Mitchell, vanished after leaving an Evansville, Wyo., bar on Dec. 17. Evansville is a small town on the outskirts of Casper.
He had been drinking, according to authorities, and left the sports bar around 10 p.m. for a two-mile walk to the Virginian Motel, where he lived. He was never seen again, police said.
Police said they do not suspect foul play.
Numerous searches were held for Bender, 53, in the days following his disappearance.
His sisters, Cheryl Kunkel, of Mitchell, and Dawn Bender, Oklahoma City, Okla., went to Casper to help in the search.
Michael Bender, a 1976 Mitchell High School graduate, is the son of Melvin and Dorothy Bender, of Mitchell.
Earlier this year, Dawn Bender said family members, friends and co-workers had accepted the official theory that Mike Bender was dead.
His body was recovered by a Casper Fire-EMS crew after workers from the Knife River Corp. spotted it in the river Monday morning. An autopsy has been scheduled for Thursday.