BY ART BUKOWSKI
BELLAIRE — A missing Antrim County man’s fate isn’t entirely surprising, authorities said, but it still makes for a sad ending to an unfortunate story.
A pair of downstate hunters on Sunday found Winston Gordon’s remains near his car on a secluded piece of property in Central Lake Township. Gordon, 83, of Bellaire, was last seen Sept.13 at a gas station south of Traverse City.
“Our hearts go out to the family,” Antrim County Sheriff Dan Bean said. “At least they’ll get some closure, but this isn’t what anyone wanted. It’s a sad deal.”
Gordon drove his 1996 Oldsmobile close to a half-mile down what Bean described as a four-wheeler path off Crawford Road. The path isn’t big enough for a car, and Gordon’s car eventually became stuck.
“It was front-wheel drive, and the wheels were down in the mud,” he said.
It appears Gordon got out of the vehicle and may have tried to dislodge it. It’s not clear how long he survived near the vehicle.
Gordon enjoyed driving down back roads in Antrim County and mired his vehicle on such roads before, Bean said, but it’s not clear why he chose this particular path.
“I don’t have any answer as to why he went down that long, narrow four-wheel path,” Bean said. “It would have been kind of nice to know what was going through his head, but I don’t think we’ll ever know.”
Had Gordon not traveled so far down the path, he may have been found, Bean said.
“It’s very unfortunate,” he said. “If he hadn’t have driven down so far away from the road, would someone have seen him? It’s possible.”
Gordon left his Bellaire home the morning of Sept. 13. It’s believed he was going to drive elsewhere to take a walk. He was last seen later that day at the Mutual Service Station at South Airport and Garfield roads in Garfield Township.
Gordon spoke with a man there and asked for directions back to M-72 East toward Kalkaska. He told the man he went for a drive and lost his way.
He was given directions to head north on Garfield Road and turn east on M-72.
His family couldn’t be reached for comment. No funeral services are planned at this time, though a memorial service will be scheduled later in Eaton, Ohio, where he lived during the winter.