UPDATE: Missing Hawkeye CC student found near Gilbertville - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UPDATE: Missing Hawkeye CC student found near Gilbertville

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LA PORTE CITY (KWWL) -

The Black Hawk County Sheriff's Office confirms that missing Hawkeye Community College student, Taylor Franco, has been found alive near Gilbertville. 

Authorities tell us that someone riding on the Cedar Valley Nature Trail spotted Franco.

They say he is fine, but has been taken to a hospital to be checked out.

Franco, 19, showed up at a home in the 11,000 block of La Porte Road in La Porte City at around 5:30 a.m. Sunday, thinking he was at his own home, even taking off his shoes inside.  The homeowners convinced him it was not his house and called police after Franco walked away, having stolen nothing.  The family's blood hound even ran off after Franco and was missing throughout the night. 

Later, police found a car registered to Franco's parents abandoned near the Klima Wildlife Area off Highway 218.

The Black Hawk County Sheriff's Department launched a full-fledged search for Taylor Franco around noon Sunday, after talking with his roommates. They reportedly told police Franco had been acting a bit differently the past few days, and that it is not at all like him to run off.

All day Sunday, the Black Hawk County Sheriff's Department, along with local police and fire agencies searched for the teen in hundreds of acres around Klima Wildlife Refuge. Late in the afternoon, a possible break came, when searchers on horseback found bare foot prints and dog prints headed south from the home where Franco was last seen.

They suspended the search overnight and began searching again on Monday morning. 

"We were able to get our K-9 search and rescue tracking that scent.  And it led us kind of down into this, I think it's 500 acres down here.  We find some other evidence of more bare foot prints closer to the river," said Black Hawk County Sheriff Tony Thompson.

But then the trail went cold, even after using nearly every searching resource at their disposal.

"We had horses out. We had the airplane up from the state patrol. We had, you name it, about every type of ATV-4-wheelers, gators, you know, the whole thing," Thompson said.

Police say Franco did not have any mental health issues and was not on medications.  He's a native of Davenport and has no ties to the La Porte City area, just adding to the mystery of why he ended up there.

Initial reports indicated Franco is a student at the University of Northern Iowa.  However, the school says Franco is a Hawkeye student who lives on the UNI campus as part of a partnership agreement between the two schools.

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