By LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — A 2003 graduate from Colfax High School reported missing from the Wisconsin Dells area since May 11 has been found safe and sound.
Nick Moen came to the Colfax Police Department on Thursday, June 11, at approximately 9:30 p.m. and talked to Colfax Police Officer Mike Madrid, according to Colfax Police Chief William Anderson.
Nick was with his mother, and Nick was back home and safe and was supposed to have contact with law enforcement to confirm his safety, Police Chief Anderson said.
Officer Madrid verified it was Nick, saw he was fine, and forwarded the information to Sauk County, he said.
According to a news release dated May 21, the Sauk County Sheriff’s Department was asked to conduct a welfare check in the Village of West Baraboo for 30-year-old Nicholas P. Moen on Monday, May 11.
Concerns for Moen’s welfare were raised after a disciplinary action at his workplace in the Village of Lake Delton, according to the sheriff’s department news release.
Moen was listed as a missing person on the Sauk County Crime Stoppers Facebook page on May 20.
According to the Sauk County Sheriff’s Department news release, Nick Moen was known to frequent the casinos near Lake Delton and Black River Falls and was described as having a gambling problem.
On Monday, June 15, Nick’s father, Terry Moen, confirmed that Nick was receiving treatment for a gambling addiction at a facility in Eau Claire and was scheduled to be released that day for either further in-patient or out-patient treatment.
Police Chief Anderson said he was pleased to know Nick was safe and sound.
“I didn’t think it would turn out this way. When you hear about things like this, it usually does not turn out like this,” he said.
Terry Moen said law enforcement officials had told them that missing persons, especially people who just walk off, are usually located within two weeks — that they either return on their own, or in the worst-case scenario, their bodies are found.
“It’s been a stressful month,” Terry Moen said.
“As (time went) on, we had to be ready for anything,” he said.
Happily, Nick is alive, and he is safe.
Terry Moen said that while they have asked Nick where he was all that time, he has not told them very much.
Nick first contacted his mom and dad via Facebook about ten days after he had gone missing. Unfortunately, Terry and Paula Moen still had no idea where their son was located. He had left his cell phone at his apartment, and Terry speculated that Nick had gone to a library for computer access to send a message to them via Facebook.
“It was a relief to hear from him,” Terry said.
According to an update on the Sauk County Crime Stoppers Facebook page, in the early stages of the investigation, numerous attempts to locate Moen were unsuccessful. Sauk County detectives, working with Moen’s’ family, believed they had made contact with him via social media, but officials said that could not be verified until personal contact was made and his well-being was confirmed.
Somewhere along the way, someone also said he or she had spotted Nick in Menomonie.
“But that was false,” Terry said.
As it turns out, Nick Moen appears to have been battling a gambling addiction for about a decade.
“He has been trying to battle this himself. He says it has been ten years … now he has to start over. He said, ‘I’ve done this for ten years, and I’m sick of it,’” Terry Moen said.
Terry and Paula Moen said they would like the Colfax community to know how appreciative they have been for all the thoughts, prayers and well wishes that Nick would be found and that he would be alive and safe.