brian-blachut-in-aug-93Courtesy photo Nancy Cook
Brian Richard Blachut

Brian Richard Blachut

Missing Person

Brian Richard Blachut
Age at Report: 30
DOB: January 27, 1963
Height: 5’5″
Weight: 135 lbs.
Hair Color: Brown
Eye Color: Brown
Missing From: Scarville, IA
Winnebago County
Missing Since: November 21, 1993
Case Summary compiled by Jody Ewing

Brian Richard Blachut, 30, of Lake Mills, Iowa, disappeared after leaving the Blue Moon Saloon in Scarville, Iowa, about 2 a.m. on Sunday, November 21, 1993.

At approximately 10 a.m., Blachut’s four-wheel drive Datsun 1981 pickup truck was found partially submerged in a drainage ditch on the west side of Winnebago County Road A-16, about two miles east of Scarville. Tracks indicated the vehicle had gone down into the ditch on the road’s east side, circled in the field, crossed back over the blacktop road and then gone back into the ditch on the road’s west side.

The truck was found facing due west in the 12- to 15-feet wide drainage ditch. The four-foot deep ditch contained close to three feet of water at the time.

Globe Gazette article

Courtesy The Globe Gazette, Nov. 30, 1993

Blachut’s roommate and best friend, Shawn Hedin, 31, of Lake Mills, reported Blachut missing to the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office in Forest City, Iowa, about 12:30 p.m. when he realized Blachut had not returned home from the night before. Blachut, a full-time labor employee at Seaboard Farms of Minnesota in Albert Lea, had worked Saturday and stopped at the Blue Moon Saloon on the way home, where he met up with Hedin. Hedin said he left the saloon about 10 minutes before Blachut.

Blachut was described as being 5-feet, 5-inches tall, 135 pounds, slender with a muscular build, brown wavy hair and brown eyes. He was hearing impaired and wore a hearing aid, and also wore either glasses or contact lenses for nearsightedness.

He was last seen wearing a dark colored t-shirt, blue jeans and Everlast brand tennis shoes.

No Word, No Sign of Blachut

The sheriff’s department implemented a ground and air search the same day Blachut was reported missing, covering surrounding areas of slough, marsh, river bottom land and some timbered areas.

Gary Albertson used a boat to check the drainage ditch and then used an all-terrain vehicle to search the area around the ditch.

Pilot Robert Cooper, accompanied by Winnebago County Sheriff Thomas Lillquist, flew over the area for 45 minutes but didn’t see anything unusual.

Using boats and long poles, DNR officers and Lake Mills Fire Department members probed the bottom of the drainage ditch.

Winnebago County in Iowa
Winnebago County in Iowa
Scarville in Winnebago CountyScarville in Winnebago County

Surrounding fields and Dahle Park were checked using ATVs, and the Iowa Highway Patrol flew a grid pattern over the area. Private citizens joined authorities on foot and horseback as well as in all-terrain vehicles. The searches turned up no signs of Blachut.

“We don’t suspect foul play, but if we don’t find him today, we’ll have to consider it,” Sheriff Lillquist told the Globe Gazette the Tuesday after Blachut went missing.

Two other air searches were conducted that same week.

Overnight temperatures the night Blachut went missing had dipped to 35 degrees, with 10-mph winds out of the west-southwest.

If Blachut “stepped out of the truck and got wet, you’ve got a real good chance of hyperthermia,” Lillquist told the Gazette. Lillquist said it was unlikely Blachut could have gone more than three or four miles from his truck before exposure to the cold would have prevented him from going any farther.

Neither family nor friends heard from Blachut following his disappearance, and Blachut never picked up his last paycheck from Seaboard Farms.

One month after he went missing, a cadaver dog was brought in with hopes of finding clues as to Blachut’s whereabouts. The dog, a German shepherd, and his handler, Tim McClug of Sandusky, Ohio, joined Lillquist and deputies Dave Peterson and Doug Jenson in a search that included a 1-1/2 mile radius around Dahle Park. McClug served as chief of detectives of his department on the township police department that included Sandusky.

“The dog can smell a body up to 200 yards away,” Lillquist said of the dog in a Globe Gazette article dated December 21, 1993. The dog had been specially trained three years earlier and already had responded to 30 calls; it had found four dead people and one hand.

Again, no trace of Blachut was found.

Fishermen Find Shirt

In late March 1994, a man and his son fishing in the Winnebago River near the area where Blachut’s truck was found caught a shirt and reported it to the sheriff.

The sheriff’s office contacted Hedin, who said his roommate had owned a similar shirt.

Two DNR officers and the sheriff conducted a new search search encompassing a one mile section of the river south of where the shirt had been pulled from water. Lillquist walked the shoreline and back waters while DNR officers floated the river checking all snag and deadfalls, but they recovered nothing else.

Lillquist asked farmers within a 25 to 50 mile radius of Scarville to watch for signs of Blachut as they began spring farm work and entered long-vacant storage buildings.

Blachut was listed on the Iowa Department of Public Safety’s Missing Person Information Clearinghouse list up through December 2002 with an “Endangered” status.

The Blachut family established a reward of up to $5,000 for information regarding Brian’s whereabouts, but it went unclaimed.

Brian-Richard-Blachut-in-aug-93Courtesy photo Nancy Cook
Brian Blachut in August 1993, three months before he went missing.
About Brian Blachut

Brian Richard Blachut was born January 27, 1963 in Canada. His parents, Larry Blachut of Anchorage, Alaska, and Eva Moger Adolph of Edmonton, Alberta, separated when he was young.

Brian’s mother told the Globe Gazette she’d last spoken to her son when he called her in early November 1993 to say he’d be there for Christmas. He never arrived.

At the urging of his close friend, Shawn Hedin, Brian Blachut had moved to Lake Mills in October 1992. Hedin and Blachut had met in Houston about 12 years earlier and had lived together both in Texas and Lake Mills. Prior to moving to Lake Mills, Blachut worked for Legasse Brothers Inc., in Houston.

Information Needed

If you have any information regarding Brian Blachut’s disappearance or whereabouts please contact the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office at (641) 585-2828.

Brian would have turned 53 years old on January 27, 2016.



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9 Responses to Brian Blachut

  1. MikeD says:

    I’m on board with the theory that he had an accident and since he had been drinking he got spooked and abandoned the vehicle in order to try to avoid a drunk driving charge. If he died of hyperthermia within a 4 to 5 mile radius of the vehicle you’d think he would have been found. Chances are he had warm clothes and experience with surviving in the cold, so maybe he was prepared for the walk home. Since he was already 2 miles outside of Scarville it was only around a 6 mile walk to Lake Mills.

    I’m pretty sure bar closing times were 2 am in Iowa back in 1993, so maybe it’s possible someone else from the bar driving home saw him and picked him up and something happened after that. I’m leaning more towards the possibility that he was hit and killed by a vehicle while attempting to walk home and the person covered it up and never came forward.

  2. No those where someone else remains. I remember very clearly when this happened. Sad

  3. Not sure about that. I do know that Iowa Cold Case tries very hard to keep everything up to date such as how the case is going and what the police are doing.

  4. I thought they found his remains?

  5. Brian Ullestad says:

    I knew brian and I asked him if he wanted to sell his snowmobile a week before he came out missing and he wasn’t interested. I think what happened he was maybe driving over the limit, puts his truck in the ditch. Figured the cops might be coming out, he hides out probably in a culvert and dies of exposure. The next year a dog finds a skull in that area. I’m sure that’s what happened.

  6. Brian Ullestad says:

    I tried buying Brian’s snowmobile a week before he went missing and he wasn’t interested. So that tells me he had no plans of running off. They found a skull the next year and an expert determined he was pretty sure it was him. They should run a mitochondria test with the skull and Brian’s mom to confirm that it’s Brian. I’m sure they’re was no foul play, they even had a helicopter searching with infrared and still nothing. I think he crawled into a culvert for some reason.

  7. LuAnn says:

    My number one question is did the authorities check into possibly his roomate knowing more than what he is saying? It seems kind of wierd to me this whole case. I live about 45 miles(give or take a little) from Lake Mills so this case kind of caught my eye when I was going through all the missing people on this website.

    In reading over this case I have several speculations. Was Brian drunk when he left the bar or was he ok to drive? Apparantly he was ok to drive or you think his roommate Shawn would have made sure that he got home ok. Also, his roomate said that he had left the bar before Brain did, is their any witnesses to this, can anybody in the bar remember this(Im sure not all the patrons were drunk, the bartenders must have seen something or other people).

    Do you think possibly that Brian could have tried to avoid something in the road like a Deer maybe and that is why they found track marks indicating that his truck had left the road and went down inside the east ditch, then circled around in the field, crossed back over the blacktop road and gone into the ditch on the west side of the road. The truck found in the ditch facing due west in a drainage ditch with about 3 feet of water in it…Sounds to me like he tried to avoid hitting something and lost all control of the vehicle or else was going way to fast, or fell asleep @ the wheel and woke up when he hit the ditch on the east side and tried to keep the truck under control but failed to do so.

    Sherrif Lilliquist said that if Brian would have stepped out from the truck and in the water that was in the drainage ditch he would have gotton hypothermia since it was 35 degrees out with the wind about 10 miles an hour…also he would not have gotton far if he would have walked because of exposure to the cold, he would have died. Since they did a search for Brian and didn’t find anything but a shirt that a fisherman and his son found while fishing in March, and that Shawn said that Brian had one like that, I feel that someone either picked him up, and possibly could have staged his own disappearance, met with foul play, or his roommate Shawn knows more about what happened then he is letting on, not that I’m blaming him in his disappeance but that is the only speculations that I can come up with. Because if Brian had gotton out of his truck and walked somewhere he wouldn’t have gotton far and his body would have been found right away, but all the searching that the investigators did around the areas that he went missing and didn’t find a clue of what happened means that maybe he still is alive,and if not, and if someone did pick him up and he met with foul play then maybe he will never be found.

    I feel bad for Brians family and friends and hopefully they will be able to find closure in all of this someday,,,,

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