Morgan Barnum, a 20-year-old Ripley man with developmental disabilities who had been reported as a missing person, has been located by the Payne County Sheriff’s Office.
He had last been seen in Ripley on Tuesday. His sister Brittney Rees distributed flyers, asked for the public’s help and reached out to a volunteer search and rescue organization in hopes of locating him.
Deputies spotted Barnum Friday morning close to his sister’s home near 44th Street and Bethel Road. He was driving a four-wheeler that is not believed to belong to anyone in the family.
He fled, beginning an 11.5 mile chase through rural Payne County that ended when he crashed the ATV into a creek bed north of Glencoe. Barnum was transported to St. John’s Medical Center in Tulsa in stable condition, Sheriff’s Investigator Rockford Brown said.
Rees had thought her brother could be camping in the woods around Ripley. He is fascinated by the outdoors and fancies himself to be a “GI Joe” who can live off the land, she said.
He was at first thought to be carrying a BB gun, but when Barnum was found, he had a loaded .38 caliber handgun that had been taken without the owner’s permission, Brown confirmed.
Barnum had moved to Oklahoma from Oregon in April after Rees became his legal guardian.
He has autism and bi-polar disorder, which requires that he take medication. He was off his medication for several days and was reported to be drinking from a flask when he was last seen, Rees said.
The siblings had a confrontation early in the morning on the day he left because he had sneaked out the night before. A neighbor saw him leaving the house that afternoon, and he told them he wouldn’t be around anymore, Rees said.
Brown said a report will be submitted to the Payne County District Attorney’s Office for review, but given the circumstances charges may not be filed.