“Saints Join in Search for Missing Missionaries,” Ensign, Jan. 1975, 80
The disappearance of two missionaries in the Texas San Antonio Mission on October 28 brought the immediate cooperation of more than 1,000 Church members in coordinated search efforts.
Austin, Texas, police authorities asked mission president Ronald Loveland to help organize a search two days after the missionaries, Elder Gary Darley of Simi Valley, California, and Elder Mark Fischer of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, disappeared.
Within hours, more than 80 members of the Church were engaged in a “fingertip to fingertip” search of several hundred acres.
Three days later, police called on President Loveland to help organize a search of more than 200 miles of roadside areas along nearby highways. Calls to all of the stakes in the mission brought responses from as far as 500 miles away. The following day at the designated time approximately 175 cars, with four to six people in each car, spread out along the route and carefully searched roadside areas.
“One of the benefits of this tragedy was that we learned when a need comes, members of the Church can be depended on to respond quickly, spiritually, and in a very organized manner. Our priesthood lines of communication—from stake president to bishop to home teacher to member—are a most effective means of communication,” President Loveland said.
On November 13, following the discovery of the bodies, police officials charged a suspect with two counts of capital murder.
The suspect, a member of the Church baptized in 1973, had been attending meetings of other religious groups.
The two elders had informed their zone leaders that they had an appointment for dinner on October 28 with the man now charged with the crimes.