On Saturday, June 12, 2004, 54-year-old Ronald Baldwin along with a 12-year-old neighbor went four-wheeling on his 300-acre farm on Buckner Hill North Road, in Bonnieville, Ky.
At some point along the ride, the 12-year-old neighbor, whom I read was male and was considered to be mentally handicapped (no mention to what capacity) left Ronald to return to the house to refuel his ATV, but wasn’t able to find his way back to where he had left him.
It wasn’t unusual for Ronald to spend hours out among the forest of his property. He was an avid outdoorsman and riding his ATV was one of his favorite things to do. However, Ronald’s girlfriend reported him missing the following day when he hadn’t returned home by 9:30 pm.
The Sheriff’s Office, Emergency Management, and a rescue squad began searching for him immediately. They gave up their efforts at around 1:00 am Monday but reconvened that afternoon. Again they searched well into the darkness before calling it and continuing for another 12 hours on Tuesday. Authorities and search crews were determined to search all 300 acres of Ronald’s own farm, as well as all the surrounding properties.
I’m actually, by reading what little I can find about this, quite pleased with the amount of gusto that was put into finding Ronald. Once he was reported missing, it seems that LE took it seriously and went into action immediately. The areas they’ve had to search through aren’t easy terrains though. It’s full of thick underbrush and thorns, as well as caves. Searchers actually looked through 4 of them on their initial few attempts.
Ronald’s ATV was eventually found abandoned by one of his neighbors, along with Ronald’s prescription glasses, his shoes, and an unfinished bottle of Early Times Whiskey. Nothing I read suggested that there were any signs of a struggle. No footprints, no blood, nothing.
There’s really not much to go on… makes it hard to even begin to form a theory of what could have happened to him. He was on his own property, which he knew like the back of his hand… I suppose some sort of tragic health incident could have occurred, but I really believe if that were the case, something of him would have been found… As usual foul play is always a possibility, but I’m not sure what situation could have risen. I also wonder if his ATV was found in the same location that the boy had left him at…..
Law Enforcement does consider his disappearance suspicious and would appreciate any information that the public could provide: Hart County Sheriff’s Ofc 270-524-2341.
Bowling Green Daily News