Authorities continue search for missing Woonsocket man

Prins, Eugene
A recent photo of Eugene Prins, who was last seen in Forestburg on March 26. (Photo courtesy of the Sanborn County Sheriff's Office)

FORESTBURG — A Woonsocket man remains missing after weekend searches of the Forestburg area where he was last seen Thursday evening.

Law enforcement was alerted to Eugene Prins' disappearance by social media at about noon on Friday, according to a Facebook post from the Sanborn County Sheriff's Office.

According to Colton Hotchkiss, Prins' younger brother, Prins, 45, was last seen at 7:38 p.m. Thursday drinking with a friend at Doren's Bar, located at 131 N. Main St. in Forestburg.

Hotchkiss told The Daily Republic in an email Monday morning that Prins' friend told him and his other brother at 9:11 p.m. on Thursday that Prins was missing.

"We didn't take it seriously because they were both drunk and (we) thought he was messing with us," Hotchkiss wrote.


Prins has brown, graying hair and a black and gray beard and wears glasses with dark rims. He has a tattoo of his nickname, "Beaner," on one of his arms.

On Friday, Jerauld County's K-9 was called to the area but was unable to pick up a scent to assist in tracking Prins. Drones and the South Dakota Highway Patrol's plane were used to assist searchers on the ground until it got dark Friday. Weather conditions Saturday reportedly prevented law enforcement from searching the Forestburg area, though they assessed the area and friends and family members searched for Prins.

On Sunday, a ground search covered about 12 square miles, while aerial searches covered more than 30. The sheriff's office, Davison County Emergency Management, Davison County Search and Rescue, the Madison Police Department, the Clark County Sheriff's Office, the Woonsocket Fire Department, Highway Patrol and Mitchell Technical Institute precision ag department, as well as family and friends of Prins, participated in the search.

Hotchkiss said the weekend's searches didn't uncover anything that might assist in finding his brother. Sanborn County Sheriff Tom Fridley said another search was underway Monday with assistance from the Codington County Sheriff's Office and a K-9 unit, but that nothing had been found as of about noon.

"We're trying to figure out what went on, and at this point, that's all we've got," Fridley said.

Fridley said the state's Division of Criminal Investigation is not involved in the investigation but could be called for assistance in the future if it's determined Prins' disappearance involved multiple jurisdictions.

Prins is one of two people currently missing from Sanborn County. The other, Rachel Cyriacks, who was 30 when last seen on Nov. 13, 2013, is also from Woonsocket.

Fridley said he occasionally gets calls about Cyriacks but that any leads in the case have ended with information that's already part of the investigation.


The Sanborn County Sheriff's Office is encouraging landowners in the area to check buildings on their properties. Those with information relating to Prins' disappearance can call the sheriff's office at 605-796-4511.

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