CROSBY -- Friends and family are stunned how Richard Charles "Charlie" Mills turned up in Denver about 48 hours after he was last seen in Crosby, but they're thrilled the Crosby man survived the ordeal.
"I'm just so happy," Carol Mills, Charlie's wife of nearly 31 years, said this morning. She said she can't believe how far her husband traveled.
Charlie, 63, was discovered missing Sunday when he didn't arrive for work at the Cuyuna Regional Medical Center where he has worked for more than 20 years.
His whereabouts were unknown until he turned up Tuesday morning in Denver.
Carol said she was leaving today for Denver to see her husband and bring him home. Charlie was discharged Tuesday night from a Denver hospital where he underwent tests and was staying at a cousin's home.
Carol said she was able to talk to Charlie Tuesday and he said he was OK. She said he doesn't remember how he got to Colorado. Police speculate a trucker gave him a ride a portion of the way from Minnesota to Colorado.
The past few days, Carol said, were trying. But she said the community support was overwhelming. Dozens turned out to help with ground searches for Charlie after he was discovered missing. Volunteers scoured the woods near where he was last seen near Crow Wing County Road 12 Sunday.
"I just want to thank everyone for their time and efforts," Carol said. "The community support was unreal. It was unbelievable. It's been the worst three days of my life. I'm still shocked."
Carol said friends have already started to put up signs welcoming Charlie home.
"Thank goodness for small towns," Carol said.
Carol said Crosby police called her residence Tuesday moments after receiving word Charlie was discovered in Denver. She said a friend answered the phone. Carol recalled the friend said Charlie's in Denver, he's alive. Carol said the house went absolutely still. Then when the news sunk in, everyone cheered, hugged and cried, she said.
Carol said she and Charlie hoped to be back home by Thursday night.
Det. Gene Guigli, with the missing persons unit of the Denver Police Department, said sometimes these cases conclude with a movie or storybook ending. "He's a pretty lucky Guigli said Charlie did not take his diabetes medication Saturday night or Sunday morning. "It's not unusual for diabetics to have this type of reaction," Guigli said.
Guigli said Charlie remembered being brushed and knocked down by a truck. Because of his diabetes and any possible injury in any accident as well as his lack of memory, he was transported to Denver Health hospital to be checked out. A hospital spokeswoman Tuesday afternoon said Charlie was doing well.
Guigli said one of Charlie's main concerns was missing work.
John Schaubach, Cuyuna Regional Medical Center hospital services director, said Charlie should not be concerned.
"We're glad he's OK and eager to have him back," Schaubach said. "We don't think he needs to worry about such a thing."
Both Charlie and Carol Mills have worked at the hospital for more than 20 years. They both have a lot of friends and supporters at the hospital, Schaubach said.
He said he was grateful for everyone who offered help and support to the Mills during Charlie's disappearance.
"We're just very relieved," Schaubach said.
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