This story was voted No. 3 of the Top stories of 2011 by the Morning Journal news staff.
LISBON -One of the top stories of the year was the disappearance and death of local businessman and farmer Gerald Klusch.
Klusch, 71, of U.S. Route 30, Lisbon, was last seen alive by his employee Matt Bailey when Klusch dropped Bailey off at his home on Dungannon Road on Sept. 29.
After learning of his disappearance, county sheriff's deputies and investigators, along with a search squad of firefighters and volunteers combed the properties belonging to Klusch. An airplane flew over the properties and surrounding areas on one clear fall day looking for any sign of him.
Finally on Nov. 18, while following up one of the many leads they received, investigators found Klusch's body off Hazel Run Road near Salineville.
His family, which had made a plea for leads and offered a reward in the gazebo in Lisbon only a week before, finally had some closure; however, the events surrounding his disappearance and death remain a mystery. His wallet and credit cards were found nearby. The body was positively identified as Klusch's by the Summit County coroner's office, but the sheriff's department is still waiting for a cause of death in the case. They also continue to investigate how Klusch's body was found more than 15 miles from the property on Beacon Light Road where his truck was found.
The Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Identification had previously determined blood found in the back of Klusch's truck was his. The white pickup was found with new damage the day after he had disappeared.
While the search for Gerald Klusch is one of the top stories in 2011, his death will most likely remain a story through 2012 or longer.