The search for a former Wartburg College music instructor who left a Waterloo care facility Monday night is entering its fourth day.
Searchers have been looking for 46-year-old Michael Jensen of Waverly since he escaped from Ravenwood Specialty Care through a window. Jensen’s wife, Jen, says her husband was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2012.
“He’s had diminished capacity since 2016,” Jen Jansen says. “Mostly from the brain cancer and complications from the treatments.”
Jensen says the past few months have been extremely difficult on the family. Jensen and the couple’s three daughters, one of whom just graduated from Waverly-Shell Rock High School, haven’t been able to visit Michael because pandemic restrictions.
“He’s been in a nursing home for two years with cooperative care,” Jensen says. “… To be quite honest, with COVID, we’ve been at the end of our rope. It had been 121 days on Monday since I’ve seen him and been able to hug him.”
Authorities believe Michael Jensen may be trying to return to the family’s home in Waverly. Nearly 50 volunteers showed up in Janesville Thursday to help look for him and they spent the morning searching property between Cedar Falls and Waverly before severe weather ended the effort around noon. Jensen says she’s extremely grateful for the support her family has received from friends and strangers.
“When I drove in the parking lot, I had to a minute to have a good cry,” Jensen says. “It’s overwhelming to see … a parking lot full of volunteers, who are taking their summer day.”
Firefighters and first-responders went door-to-door in Janesville Thursday night. Even though there have been no signs of Mitchell since he disappeared, Jen Jensen is confident he will be found.
“We’re going to find him,” Jensen says. “I have so much confidence in this law enforcement team. Waterloo P.D. has been fantastic and homeland security has been wonderful.”
The search for Jensen will resume at 9 AM today. Volunteers should report to the Incident Command Center at the Island Park Boat House in Cedar Falls.
(Photos and story by Elwin Huffman, KOEL, Oelwein)