In honor of Native American Heritage Month I’m featuring a Native American missing person for every day in the month of November. Today’s missing person is Gene Jacob Cloud Jr., a 20-year-old member of the Ho-Chunk Tribe who disappeared from Jackson County in west central Wisconsin on January 25, 2012.
When I went to the Wisconsin Missing Persons Awareness event in 2015, Gene’s family was there, dressed in their traditional tribal regalia and jewelry. I don’t think they showed up in later years, though.
So Gene got the borrowed car he was driving stuck in a ditch, and when a police officer offered to help him, he ran away, possibly because he had a few outstanding warrants for his arrest on minor charges. He was never seen again.
Searchers subsequently tracked his footprints for three miles through deep snow, and then search dogs traced his scent back to the road, where the trail stopped, suggesting Gene got into a vehicle. His family doesn’t think he left voluntarily, because his girlfriend was pregnant with their child and Gene was trying to become more responsible, such as by going back to school.
I have to wonder if he just didn’t get too far from civilization when he ran from the police that day, and got into trouble. The weather in Wisconsin in the winter is brutal, and it doesn’t look like he was properly dressed to be running miles through the snow.