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Wife hospitalized, husband dead: Missing elderly couple found stuck in vehicle on trail in Dane County
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Wife hospitalized, husband dead: Missing elderly couple found stuck in vehicle on trail in Dane County

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An elderly man was found dead in his vehicle Saturday in the town of Vermont after being reported missing along with his wife on Thanksgiving Day, the Dane County Sheriff’s Office said.

Donald Soper and his wife, Colleen Soper, both 87, left a family gathering in Black Earth around 3 p.m. Thursday, authorities said. Family members reported the Sopers missing after they did not arrive at their destination.

A search by multiple fire and police departments across western Dane County continued through Friday with “no sign of the Sopers or their vehicle,” the Sheriff’s Office said.

At about 10:20 a.m. Saturday, the Sopers’ black Dodge Caliber was found on a remote trail outside the unincorporated community of Vermont, which is about five miles from Black Earth. The vehicle appeared to be stuck, and both Sopers were seated inside.

Donald was found dead at the scene, and Colleen was taken to Meriter Hospital in critical condition.

The couple’s disappearance triggered a statewide Silver Alert, which is a system of informing the public when an adult with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia or another permanent cognitive impairment is missing.

In a separate incident, a Silver Alert was issued in August after Colleen Soper was reported missing. She was found safe.

The Sheriff’s Office is investigating Donald Soper’s death but said the “circumstances do not appear to be suspicious.”

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