Search For CDA Man Takes To The Skies

COEUR D’ALENE — It has been five days since anyone has heard from or seen Daniel Varner of Couer d’Alene, and now a full blown search and rescue operation is underway.

The 54-year-old went to chop wood in the Fernan area Saturday morning, and he was supposed to return home by Saturday afternoon.

It was about 100 degrees on Saturday when Varner left to chop wood. He is said to have left in jeans and a t-shirt But Wednesday night was forecasted to be about 50 degrees cooler, and it has been raining.

For the first time, the search for Varner hit the skies. A helicopter crew from Newport, accompanied by a Kootenai County sheriff’s deputy, scoured the Fernan area searching for any sign of Varner or his maroon 1998 Ford F-150 truck.

At the Kootenai County Search and Rescue office, maps show the 800 miles of road that rescue crews have driven so far. As of now, the sheriff’s office doesn’t suspect foul play.

“I think there’s only three scenarios,” says Sgt. Matt Street of the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office. “One, he’s not in the area, he left or he could have been injured cutting firewood or he could have driven off the road. Those are the three most proabable scenarios.”

Varner is said to be a very habitual person with a specific routine each weekend. He goes to Perkins for coffee, and then heads out to chop wood for the winter months. Varner had meetings scheduled Saturday evening and his mom says he wouldn’t have missed them.

Kootenai County Search and Rescue is not only driving the roads, but they’re walking the roads in the Fernan area because there are embankments on almost every turn. If Varner isnt found by this weekend, they say they’ll bring in search and rescue crews from other counties.