The body of a 74-year-old Mexican national missing for nearly two weeks was found Oct. 25 in Hamburg township.
In a press release, Vernon County Sheriff John Spears said a K-9 team from Menasha found Goudensio Gayton’s body at approximately 2 p.m. in a wooded area between Co. Rd. K and Wehling Lane, one half mile from where a trail camera caught a picture of him the evening of Oct. 12–the day Gayton was visiting the Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine.
Spears told the Vernon County Broadcaster of Viroqua that it remains a mystery why Gayton, who was visiting family in Iowa, left the shrine.
Search and rescue teams from Wisconsin and Minnesota, totaling 70 volunteers, searched for Gayton Oct. 25, at 9 a.m., after many previous searches failed to turn up anything.
According to Spears, groups involved in the search included the following: Coon Valley, Viroqua, Westby, Viola, La Farge, Ontario, Wheatland, Readstown and Cashton fire departments; eight different K-9 search teams; 13 horse teams; the Valley Mounted Volunteers from Appleton; K-9 Emergency response teams from Menasha, K-9 SOS from Madison; K-9 Search Midwest from Excelsior, Minn.; Headwaters Search and Rescue from Eagle River; Rapid Search and Rescue from Wisconsin; Bloodhound In Training from Eau Claire; HRD K9 IIC from Minneapolis, Minn.; local volunteers and the Vernon County Emergency Management office.
Vernon County Coroner Janet Reed will determine the cause of death, and the Sheriff’s Office will continue to investigate, Spears said.
As of press time, no additional information was available about the cause for Gayton’s disappearance.
According to the Broadcaster, Gayton had been with family members at the shrine. He did not want to enter the shrine but instead waited outside, his grandson Alejandro Vega-Gayton said.
“It’s a mystery,” Vega-Gayton said. “We said, ‘Come on inside.’ He didn’t want to enter the shrine. He was just outside waiting. Then he wasn’t there.”
Gayton’s family in the United States is from Postville and New Hampton, Iowa. Gayton had traveled from Mexico to visit them. The family went together Oct. 12 to the shrine near La Crosse.
Gayton had not shown signs of physical or mental illness that would have caused him to wander off, Vega-Gayton said. He did not speak English.