BILLINGS — Update 6 p.m.
The search for Sherri Richterich has been suspended for darkness, Yellowstone County Sheriff Mike Linder said Tuesday night.
Searchers combed areas surrounding Richterich's home on foot, while a helicopter looked from above, Linder said, with no sign of the 77-year-old woman with Alzheimer's.
Starting Wednesday, barring new leads the search will scale back to deputies assigned to the area checking places where she might be and responding to tips, according to Linder.
No stationary command post will be set up.
(first report) Sherri Richterich, a 77-year-old Billings woman, has now been missing for over 36 hours with no real leads, and the Yellowstone County Sheriff’s Office doubled its efforts Tuesday and set up a command center near Richterich’s home.
“In these sort of situations, we need a place to go to start and for everyone to check in to keep track of where we’ve been, where we need to go,” said Yellowstone County Undersheriff Sam Bofto on Tuesday.
The search for Richterich is getting more intense even after the sheriff’s office's substantial efforts Monday.
“We’ve utilized the helicopter, we’ve utilized drones, we’ve utilized people on foot, all sorts of different tactics,” Bofto said.
Now the search area has expanded with time working against them. The first 72 hours are critical with 80% of missing people found in that time frame.
The other concern is that Richterich also has Alzheimer's. She lives in the area of Green Acre and Rudio Road near Interstate 90. According to the family’s guess, she left her home around 1 a.m. Monday.
Search dogs did find Richterich’s jacket in tall brush near I-90 on Monday night but nothing since.
“Everything south of the frontage road on or near 56th Street West, toward Rudio Road, and we’ll expand out from there going towards the river, and towards town, underneath the interstate in that direction,” said Bofto.
Abigail Dieffenbacher is one of many volunteers who helped with the search. She’s been out looking since 9 a.m. Tuesday.
“I had a grandmother who had Alzheimer’s and dementia and a member of my church who I called grandpa had it and if it was my family, someone I cared about, I would want everyone out there looking,” Dieffenbacher said.
The sheriff’s office says they have enough volunteers right now, but if you do see something, say something.
“We’re always concerned. We want to make sure we can get to the individual as soon as we can to render aid and at this time, we’re going to keep going until we can go,” said Bofto.
Anyone with information should call the Yellowstone County Sheriff’s office at 406-256-2929 or dial 911.