Archive for Thursday, March 8, 2001

Missing man found near car in creek

March 8, 2001

A Leavenworth man and the car he was driving when he disappeared nearly six months ago were found Tuesday in a creek in Leavenworth County.

A county road worker happened upon John Brezgiel's 1994 Oldsmobile Cutlass Sierra about 10 a.m., just west of the where Leavenworth roads 29 and 10 intersect, said Sgt. John Schermbeck, with the Leavenworth County Sheriff's Department.

Investigators pulled the car from the creek and then discovered Brezgiel's body about 200 feet from the car.

An autopsy will not be performed because a preliminary investigation by the corner didn't find any evidence of foul play.

"It looks as though he died there at the scene of the accident," Schermbeck said. "There wasn't anything unusual or suspicious that would indicate foul play."

Brezgiel, 73, was last seen about 10:30 p.m. Sept. 19, leaving JCPenny at the Leavenworth Plaza.

At least three times a week, Brezgiel drove Leavenworth Road 10 to see his "coffee buddies" in Leavenworth, his wife Scotty Brezgiel had said.

After Brezgiel was reported missing, the sheriff's department and family scoured the entire route between Brezgiel's home in rural Tonganoxie and Leavenworth.

The sheriff's department flew planes over the area and family members walked through fields and along ditches in the search. The family even contacted a psychic, who said Brezgiel was in his car in a ditch somewhere.

Apparently, Brezgiel's car left the north side of county road 10, went down an embankment and into the creek. The car was partially emerged and under a bridge that spans Highway 10 when investigators found it. There's no evidence that another vehicle was involved in the accident, Schermbeck said.

Brezgiel, who was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease seven years ago, took medication for rigidity and to keep him from hallucinating, which was a symptom of the disease, hi wife had said.

Without his medication, he would not have survived long, according to his family.

"It's difficult to believe that we couldn't find him or the car when it was right there," Schermbeck said.

Schermbeck said they were hoping that maybe hunters would have found the car during the fall, but he is satisfied with finally being able to bring closure to the case.

Private funeral services for Brezgiel will be at a later date, the family said.

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