MCSO continues search for missing woman
Late last week, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) continued its search for a woman that had been missing from the Town of LaGrange since Tuesday, Sept. 1. Thirty-year old Elisabeth J. Ageton was last seen in the area of County Hwy G near Hwy 12 just outside of Tomah and it is believed that she may be suffering from a mental health crisis.
“Based on the information that we’ve been given, we believe that she does have some issues that she is psychologically and mentally working through,” Sheriff Wes Revels said regarding Ageton’s state of mind.
“She doesn’t have a history of aggression and she has made no specific threat that she might harm herself, but it is possible that she doesn’t want to be found,” added MCSO Lieutenant Jeff Spencer, who is the department’s Public Information Officer (PIO) and has been heading up the investigation into Ageton’s disappearance.
“She is an adult, but our concern lies within that endangered person realm based on the information that her family has provided us,” Sheriff Revels said, adding that Ageton’s family has been very cooperative throughout the investigation. “It’s an unusual set of circumstances, but we’re going to do everything we can and use all of the resources that we have available.”
On Sept. 2, during the late afternoon and early evening hours personnel from the MCSO and the Oakdale/LaGrange Fire Department conducted an area ground search near Ageton’s residence. She was not located.
According to Spencer, law enforcement was informed that Ageton sleeps in a tent located on the property owned by her mother and stepfather, which consists of approximately 2.6 acres.
“We don’t really have any direction of travel, however, the tent looked relatively undisturbed so we believe she left the tent of her own free will,” he said. “It’s common for her to go for walks all over the backroads in the area.”
Ageton does not own a vehicle, driver’s license, cell phone or any technology that could be potentially trackable and according to Sheriff Revels, Ageton has no financial resources that they are aware of.
“Generally, she can take care of herself, but she has no means to care for herself outside of the home,” Spencer said. “She has a very specific routine and being this far out of her routine is what’s concerning us.”
Law enforcement has completed three different searches so far including the detailed area ground search of the family’s immediate property, an aerial search with the use of drones and an all-day search of the surrounding properties with several K9 teams that are trained in different scent search methodologies.
Though investigators did a visual search of Ageton’s tent, it was left undisturbed in order for the dogs to obtain her scent. By using the search dogs, investigators were hoping to get some direction of where to look next.
Two different volunteer units, Wisconsin K9 SOS Search & Rescue and Rapid Search & Rescue, brought in a total of five dogs trained to search for missing persons, live or deceased, in urban areas, the wilderness, in water and buildings.
The two units are part of a larger organization called Search Teams of Wisconsin (STOW) Task Force, which consists of volunteers located throughout the State of Wisconsin that offer scent, tracking and HR K9s as well as mounted units and boots on the ground.
“We can only be called in by law enforcement and the key is to call in K9 search teams right away, the sooner the better,” said Heather Vancl, who was in charge of the K9 search Friday morning.
The teams brought in two trailing dogs that are trained to track scent on the ground and three live area dogs that work based on scent in the air.
“We can search 24 hours a day if need be. We just switch dogs out after an eight-hour period,” Vancl said. “We have to be diligent about making the dogs take breaks because they don’t give up easily, they want to complete their work.”
The MCSO has been approached about organizing a group of volunteers to complete searches of the area.
“There is certainly a time and place where we would utilize volunteers and the public, but again because of the lack of information, we’re doing everything we can to narrow our search,” Spencer said. “We’ve talked to area property owners to check their trails and deer stands, that sort of thing. Everybody has been assisting and watching out for her.”
Ageton is described as having brown hair, brown eyes, is 5’7″ tall and weighs approximately 130 pounds. She was last seen wearing a light gray sweatshirt, black leggings, gray crocs, a black scarf and a two-tone gray stocking hat that Spencer said Ageton is always wearing and is therefore a feature that distinguishes her from others.
“We’ve followed up on several tips and possible sightings, but her description is pretty broad,” Spencer said. “We found out that one thing that possibly goes along with her mental health issues is that her two-tone gray hat is something she always has on, which might help her be identified.”
At the time this article went to press, Ageton had still not been located. If you have any information related to the disappearance of Ageton, please contact Lieutenant Jeffrey Spencer at (608) 269-8756 or (608) 269-2117.