Dad's disappearance 'a blessing in disguise,' says family

Dad's disappearance 'a blessing in disguise,' says family »Play Video
LONGVIEW, Wash. - A 67-year-old Longview, Wash., man was rescued Friday after spending five nights in freezing temperatures after his pickup truck ran off a logging road.

Richard Sturm's daughter said after being rescued, routine hospital tests shows her father has a brain tumor, which she says may be the reason he got lost.

Five days after Dick Sturm went missing, a hunter stumbled across him Friday morning.

"I just kept saying 'I know he's out there. I know I can bring him home'," said his daughter, Julie Nelson.

Nelson said she wishes her father had never gotten lost. Still, she called the ordeal "a blessing in disguise" because diagnosing the tumor might otherwise have taken much longer.

Rescue crews brought Strum from the top of Germany Creek Road, northwest of Longview, to St. John's Hospital. He remained there all day Friday being treated for hypothermia and dehydration.

"They took him back for a cat scan and we had to have a pow-wow after that and we were told that he does have a brain tumor and that there's some bleeding around them and there are a couple of different spots," Nelson said.

Nelson said her dad doesn't like taking main roads, such as Interstate 5. On Sunday, he was supposed to be driving from her home in Castle Rock to his house in Longview, going over Delemeter Road, but ended up almost 17 miles away in rugged terrain on Germany Creek Road.

"Apparently he was off of a spur, off of a spur," she said. "So basically he had probably gotten out there and got confused. And when he went to turn around, at the end there's like a landing. And the front of his truck is on top of a tree."

Sturm knew how to survive in the woods, Nelson said. He's an avid outdoorsman and a Navy veteran. He had blankets in his full-size Chevrolet truck.

Nelson said he lived off a Snicker's bar and a bottle of water. When that was gone, he relied on his survival skills.

It's too soon to know his prognosis or how doctors plan to treat it, Nelson said. The family is focusing on having a father, and grandfather, back and will deal with the future as it comes.