ANTLERS, Okla. - 63-year-old Barbara Gunter’s vehicle was found about a mile east of Antlers just before 8 a.m. Tuesday.
An ODOT surveying crew found the vehicle, and a body inside.
Family members came out to the scene Tuesday, including Gunter’s brother-in-law Bennie Gunter.
Bennie Gunter said he came by this area many times looking for Gunter, and even had a friend on a motorcycle drive by on the very edge of the road.
“He couldn’t see anything,” Gunter said. “Not one thing where a vehicle went off the road or anything.”
The medical examiner has not positively identified the body inside the vehicle at this time.
Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Brad Dansby said it looked like Gunter’s vehicle departed the roadway to the left, traveled parallel to a bridge before finally stopping in the woods.
“OSBI’s on the scene helping with the scene processing just to make sure everything is in order. It appears to be a vehicle wreck at this time,” Dansby said.
Duncan said the bushes and overgrowth prevented Barbara’s hunter green vehicle from being spotted earlier. Local DOC inmates were brought in to clear the area after the vehicle was found.
Pushmataha County Sheriff Terry Duncan tells me Gunter was a known diabetic who went missing last July after visiting her husband at Pushmataha Hospital.
Gunter’s nephew said in addition to diabetes, Barbara had cancer and had recently suffered a stroke.
Duncan said Barbara was well-loved and respected in the community, and had worked for Probation and Parole for many years before retiring.
“Lots of volunteers, fire department, OSBI, Sheriff’s Office, troopers, game wardens, everybody looked for this lady,” Duncan said.
Barbara's brother-in-law said the family is hurting from the news.
“We can have closure now,” Gunter said. “But it’s a sad thing. It’s so sad.”
The community pulled together after Gunter’s disappearance, forming Facebook pages, even their own search party.
With Tuesday’s discovery, that search is a little closer to being finally complete.