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71-year-old fisherman who disappeared found tangled in barbed wire with dog by his side – USA TODAY

A 71-year-old’s dog proved to truly be man’s best friend this week when his faithful companion remained by his side after he got tangled in barbed wire and stayed trapped for more than two days.
South Carolina resident Billy Wayne Kearse disappeared from his home on April 16 after heading out for a fishing trip with his chihuahua, Cherokee County Sheriff Steve Mueller told USA TODAY Tuesday.
Kearse is from the city of Gaffney in upstate South Carolina about 50 miles southwest of Charlotte.
On Thursday about 11 a.m., the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office received a call from two friends saying they had been riding around searching for Kearse and found his fishing tackle box.
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That same day, deputies responded to the area where the man’s fishing gear was found and, after a search, discovered Kearse tangled in barbed wire with his dog nearby. 
“He got stuck trying to climb over the fence and got hung on the barbed wire as it wrapped around his ankle,” Mueller explained.
After deputies freed him, Kearse was transported him by medical helicopter to a hospital to be treated for dehydration, officials reported.
“The dog would not come to the officers and ran away from them but was back at the home when officers arrived to notify the family we had located their loved one,” Mueller said.
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Mueller said Kearse remained in the hospital on Tuesday but was improving daily and his prognosis for recovery “looks very good.”
“We are grateful for the two citizens who were aware of the search efforts last night to locate the missing person and who continued checking their property this morning and notified us after locating the fishing tackle box,” Mueller wrote in a news release. “Their efforts put us in the right location and subsequently officers were successful in locating him. Now we all pray for his recovery!”
Natalie Neysa Alund is a senior reporter for USA TODAY. Reach her at nalund@usatoday.com and follow her on X @nataliealund.


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