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Lloyd Liken is still missing.

lloyd liken

There are a lot of missing people from North Dakota, but the story of 81-year-old Lloyd Liken, a war veteran who went missing in mid-November 2023, has captured my mind and prayers.


He’s about the same age as my parents, his daughter has tirelessly tried to keep the public aware, and the whole state has rallied around finding him. When I read his daughter’s online posts, I start to cry. I can’t imagine what she’s going through and I hope I never have to experience it myself.


lloyd liken

Lloyd was last seen November 11, 2023. He’d left his home in Bismarck and at some point, while traveling on U.S. Highway 83 between Washburn and Wilton, a sheriff’s deputy from McLean County ran his plates because he was driving slowly.


He was reported missing on November 16, 2023.


Because Lloyd wasn’t officially diagnosed with Alzheimers or dementia, no Silver Alert went out across the state. Instead, law enforcement pushed out a Red Alert on November 20. My phone received the message and the automated phone call.


Lloyd’s family said in the days leading up to him going missing, he’d become lost twice. Because he doesn’t have a cell phone or debit card, it’s been difficult to track him. His daughter had said that the only credit card she knew of hadn’t been used. And, because people are the way they are, Lloyd’s daughter also had to defend herself on social media from people saying she should have taken away his keys.


My grandpa would get lost when out driving. He was very forgetful, and I will tell you that until you’ve gone through it, you don’t know how difficult it is to simply “take away the keys” of a North Dakota fellow who had a lifetime of self-reliance and autonomy that included driving. The snap judgment of online people gets so old at times; I don’t blame the daughter or Lloyd’s family one bit, because I understand.


On the Facebook page dedicated to finding Lloyd Liken, you can see how people have taken it upon themselves to simply drive around the state and look for his car or him.


His car, a golden-colored Toyota Highlander, is the same color as all the vegetation right now, making it difficult to spot even though the Civil Air Patrol has flown grid searches, and people have gone out on horseback and ATVs. As someone who’s done both air and ground searches, I know how difficult it is to see something right in front of you. I also know that though we’ve had a mild and open winter so far (except for a winter storm at the end of October), we’re moving into mid-December and that will absolutely change.


In my daily dad call, we talk about a lot of things but since mid-November, we will always end up talking about Lloyd. I imagine it sits heavy in my dad’s heart, too, because Lloyd is his contemporary.


Did someone carjack him, take his car, and leave him for dead? Is he driving somewhere in South Dakota? Could he still be alive and not using any money? Was there a medical emergency? Why hasn’t anyone seen his car? My assumption, knowing past searches of people of all ages who suddenly disappear in a vehicle in this state, is that water is involved. We have a lot of little and big bodies of water along the roadways in North Dakota. Those sloughs, as small and innocuous as they seem, have claimed a lot of lives. They are deeper than people realize.


On Friday, December 8, Dad called me.


“I see they are going to do another big push for a search and I wanted you to let them know where I’d looked so they don’t do it again,” he said. Then he carefully told me the route he’d driven so I could post it in the group.


“I started at Cando, then drove Highway 281 down to Highway 2. I drove to Minnewauken and then west on Highway 19 to Highway 30. I went through Maddock on Highway 30, down to Hamburg, which is Highway 15, east of Fessenden,” he said as I frantically typed the notes. “I went west on Highway 15 to Fessenden, then south on Highway 52. I crossed Highway 200 onto what is 43rd Ave NE and I think County Road 71. I went on County Road 71 down to Highway 36 because I wanted to look at Des Moines Lake.”


I’d never heard of Des Moines Lake, but there are so many little lakes and big sloughs in North Dakota that it didn’t surprise me.


“I wanted to look there because the road curves sharply at the lake and it would be easy to go off the road into the lake,” he said. “But I saw no sign of anything, no disturbance of the grass or rock rip rap, on Highway 36 east of Robinson by the lake. I didn’t notice any disturbance in brush or cattails on the route.”


He paused. “I ran out of daylight at that point and had to go back home.”


I’m so glad my dad is back home. Lloyd’s family wants their dad back home, too.


Perhaps you could pray for Lloyd’s family, and that the searches would at least find Lloyd before winter sets in hard this year so that there could be some kind of closure.


And even if you’re not from North Dakota, perhaps you could spread the word on your own social media. As awful as social media is, this is one of the things it is good for.


UPDATE: Lloyd’s body was found on April 14, 2024. According to Bismarck Police Department…


A missing 81-year-old’s body was found in rural Wells County yesterday during a farmer’s check of his fields. The body was of Bismarck, ND man Lloyd Liken. He has been missing since November 16, 2023.


Bismarck Police Detectives were notified of Liken being located a little before 3:30pm yesterday. We were notified that a farmer from the area was checking fields in the early afternoon and found Liken’s vehicle, about 30 miles North of Steele. Liken was located near his vehicle deceased.

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