Body of missing Alamance County man found after 20 hours of search by 16 agencies

A major search for a missing Alamance County man sadly ended over the weekend with divers finding his body in a tributary of the Haw River on Sunday afternoon.

Paul Shannon Geber, 56, of Whitney Road, Graham, went trail riding on his ATV near his home south of Saxapahaw around 5 p.m. Saturday, March 12, according to a statement from the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office. He had not returned that evening and his family reported him missing around 7:30 p.m.

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The sheriff’s office immediately launched a search with the help of seven agencies, including the Eli Whitney and Elon Fire Departments, Alamance County Rescue, Alamance County EMS, the Highway Patrol and North Carolina Emergency Management.

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At 11:15 p.m. Saturday, the search set up a command post in the parking lot of B. Everette Jordan Elementary School as the weather worsened with wind, rain and falling temperatures. Researchers asked Gerber’s cellphone provider to ping his phone, but the company couldn’t reach him, possibly because it was turned off.

As the sun rose Sunday, the search continued with a Highway Patrol helicopter, a drone from the Sheriff’s Office, other deputies and several agencies from different counties, including underwater rescue specialists from the Fire Department of WakeForest. In all, there were 76 people from 16 agencies looking for Gerber, according to the sheriff’s office.

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At around 7.30am on Sunday, deputies found Gerber’s ATV in Mary’s Creek about 2,200ft from where it joins the Haw River. Divers searched unsuccessfully for hours, but at 3:20 p.m. Sunday they found Gerber’s body about 350 meters downriver from the ATV.

Isaac Groves is an Alamance County watchdog reporter for the Times-News and the USA Today Network. Call or text 919-998-8039 with tips and feedback or follow him on Twitter @TNIGroves.

Brandon D. James