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Search underway for missing Kansas priest

Protection nursing home returns after evacuation

About 50 people returned back to Protection Valley Manor, a nursing home in Protection, Kansas. Karla Harvey, a nurse, talks about nearly losing her home and spending the night at Coldwater High School gymnasium. (Oliver Morrison/The Wichita Eagle
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About 50 people returned back to Protection Valley Manor, a nursing home in Protection, Kansas. Karla Harvey, a nurse, talks about nearly losing her home and spending the night at Coldwater High School gymnasium. (Oliver Morrison/The Wichita Eagle

A search party of more than 100 people was out on horseback, in four-wheelers and pickup trucks Thursday morning in Protection in search of Marvin Reif, a retired priest from the Catholic Diocese of Dodge City.

Reif went missing 10 days ago from Protection Valley Manor, where he had been living since October.

The search party included friends, relatives and concerned residents from three counties: Barton, Clark and Comanche.

Reif went walking every day around town as part of his treatment, according to a spokesperson for Protection Valley Manor, but 10 days ago he didn’t come back. The building is locked so he had to be let out. The facility has now changed its policy so that residents will have to be accompanied by a staff member.

This has been an unusually stressful time at Protection Valley Manor: The nursing home had to be evacuated during the massive grass fires on March 6. “It’s been busy and heart-wrenching,” the spokesperson said.

About 50 people returned back to Protection Valley Manor, a nursing home in Protection, Kansas. Karla Harvey, a nurse, talks about nearly losing her home and spending the night at Coldwater High School gymnasium. (Oliver Morrison/The Wichita Eagle

Reif would spend his day reading the Bible on his table and would often go out back and feed the squirrels, according to Karla Harvey, a nurse who cared for Reif.

“I just hope they can find him safe and sound,” Harvey said.

Reif has reportedly been suffering from depression, according to a media report.

Contributing: Stan Finger of The Eagle

Oliver Morrison: 316-268-6499, @ORMorrison

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