A fund has been established to assist with the search for the Rev. Marvin Reif, who walked away from a care facility over a year and a half ago and not been seen since. Meanwhile, the search for the priest with Barton County roots continues, including a bizarre claim he is being hidden in a Texas monastery.
Marvin, now 55 years old, walked away from Protection Valley Manor in Protection on April 3, 2017, where he had lived for a few months. He suffers from depression and anxiety.
The fund has been set up by his brother and sister, Duane A. Reif of Hoisington and Karen Winkelman of Great Bend, the guardians/conservators for his estate.
“Closure would be comforting,” Winkelman said. “This is something we may never know, but to sit back and do nothing is not an option.”
The funds will be used to hire a professional private investigator to help in the search for Marvin Reif, possibly offer a reward for information leading to locating him, as well as any expenses incurred in the search, Duane said. “There will be no financial gain by his family.”
Contributions may be made to the Marvin Reif Fund at any First Kansas Bank location in Hoisington, Great Bend, Claflin, or Hays.
The anonymous note
A possible lead came in the form of an anonymous note, hand-written in block letters, sent to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation in 2017. But the family didn’t learn about it until this year.
“The delay in the letter was very disappointing,” Winkelman said.
The note claimed Marvin was being hidden by the Catholic Church in a Texas monastery. The KBI forwarded it on to the Comanche County Sheriff’s Office in September 2017.
However, the Reif family didn’t hear about the note until July of this year, Karen said. And then, they learned about it by accident.
Texas EquuSearch Mounted Search and Recovery, a volunteer horse-mounted search and recovery team, contacted Duane about helping, but needed a case number. When Duane called the CCSO for the number, Sheriff Mike Lehl happened to mention the letter.
“There may or may not be anything to it,” Karen said. But every lead is worth pursuing.
A priest in the Dodge City Diocese, Marvin has suffered from mental illness for a number of years. He has served in churches throughout central and southwest Kansas.
Protection is a city in Comanche County, located in southwest Kansas next to the Oklahoma border. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 514.