Charlestown man located with help of close-knit community


by WHAS11

Posted on June 22, 2012 at 4:45 PM

Updated Friday, Jun 22 at 11:56 PM

CHARLESTOWN, Ind. (WHAS11) -- A missing Charlestown, Ind. man is found safe several miles from his house thanks in large part to the close-knit community he calls home.

When Michael Thibideau went missing, the people of Charlestown went to work.  At the time Thibideau was last been seen around 7:45 a.m.  Police say the stay-at-home dad dropped a child off at day care, and then left the house without his car and wallet, behavior completely unlike him

“It was a very uncommon situation for the family, they reached out, and we were there”, Christie Ledbetter, a family friend, said.

Within a matter of hours dozens of volunteers joined law enforcement, firefighters, and paramedics in the search for the 41-year-old husband and father.

“When we call for help we get help, and that's what we did. They were Johnny on the spot to get here and help”, Assistant Police Chief Jason Broady said.

If you think such a huge effort to find an adult, with no known medical problems, who had been missing less than 10 hours, is unusual, then volunteers say, you don't know Charlestown.

“That's just what we've done, what we've always done”, volunteer Karli Davidson said.

Karli and her mother Rhonda said they didn't need to know anything more than a family was in need, and they headed out in minutes to provide refreshments to teams combing the city in hopes of bringing Thibideau home safely.

“We're always worried when one of ours is in trouble...everyone here is one of our own”, Rhonda, who doesn’t know the Thibideau’s personally, said.

And on Friday night, police brought their own Michael Thibideau back to them.  He was found headed for Henryville walking along Highway 160 about eight miles from his home.  Why he was there, and what his physical condition was police wouldn't say.

“All you can do is smile and thank the good Lord above”, Ledbetter said.

As they pack up from a day well-spent, Charlestown volunteers are grateful for the happy ending.

Confident that if they themselves were ever in need, the community stands ready to rally to each of their sides as well.

“They would do it for me, they would do it for us”, Rhonda said.

Facebook posts from Thibideau's wife show he was dehydrated and disoriented when police found him.  She says the only explanation she can think of for his behavior is a side effect of medication he had been taking.  She also thanks everyone who helped search and get the word out.