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Multiple searches, tips fail to find missing northern Minnesota 13-year-old

Gary Tilander, 13, was last seen at about 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 22, on the 600 block of Mississippi Avenue in Bemidji. (Submitted photo)

BEMIDJI, Minn.—Despite community searches and investigations by law enforcement, a 13-year-old International Falls boy remained missing as of Monday evening.

Gary Tilander was last seen at about 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 22, on the 600 block of Mississippi Avenue in Bemidji. Tilander's cousin, Brittany Reuter, said he was staying at a foster home through Evergreen Youth and Family Services. Evergreen's youth crisis shelter is in the area.

"He walked out at 8:30 in the morning," Reuter said. "Since then we haven't seen him, heard from him, nothing."

Reuter and other relatives organized a search for Tilander in both International Falls and Bemidji on Sunday. Reuter said that despite doorknocking efforts and searches of every town between International Falls and Bemidji, Tilander did not turn up.

Bemidji Chief of Police Mike Mastin said in a news release Monday that detectives received multiple tips regarding "numerous" sightings of Tilander along Highway 71 north of Blackduck. According to Reuter, police in International Falls and Bemidji have checked traffic cameras, gas station cameras and searched Tilander's friends' homes.

A second community search has not been scheduled.

"I don't know what the next step is," Reuter said.

Though Tilander is considered a runaway, Reuter said the family just wants to know he is safe.

""He's an upset 13-year-old who feels like he's been let down in life," Reuter said. "He's not going to be in trouble...We love him and we just want to know that he's safe."

Tilander is described as a 6-foot-1-inch tall, 160-pound male with sandy blond hair and blue eyes. He was last seen wearing black high-top Nike shows, a black Flight Jordan Jumpman hoodie, a red ball cap and light grey sweat pants. Anyone with information about Tilander's whereabouts should call the Bemidji Police Department at (218) 333-9111.

Grace Pastoor

Grace Pastoor covers crime, courts and social issues for the Bemidji Pioneer. Contact her at (218) 333-9796 or

(218) 333-9796