Missing Goodview woman found safe in Illinois

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According to Goodview Police Chief Kent Russell, 31-year-old Leigh Meska is alive and well in Rockford, Illinois.

Chief Russell says Meska phoned her family just after 8 p.m. Thursday night. Her family is now on the way to meet her in Rockford.

Meska went missing Wednesday morning on the way to work at Mayo Clinic. She hadn’t made contact with friends or family since then until Thursday night. However, she had been spotted in Winona and La Crosse.

Several law enforcement agencies including the FBI and the Minnesota State Patrol air wing searched for Meska from Goodview to Rochester in dangerous sub-zero conditions.

Leigh Meska is a mother to an 11-year-old boy and has a fiance named Aaron Cada, who had been out searching for her.


GOODVIEW, Minn. (WXOW) – Leigh Meska has been found.

Winona County Emergency Management sent a post out on their Facebook page shortly after 9 p.m. that Meska was found.

No additional information is expected tonight.

We will update this story as new information becomes available.


GOODVIEW, Minn. (WXOW) – “Leigh, come home,” said her mother Sue Meska during a news conference for a missing Goodview woman Thursday afternoon.

In a twist announced by Goodview Police Chief Kent Russell, he said authorities ended the search at 2 p.m. Thursday after they developed “credible information” that she made her way to the La Crosse area Wednesday.

Goodview Police Chief Kent Russell

Russell said her cell phone was last reported near Highway 52 and I-90 outside Rochester around 7:30 a.m. They did extensive searching in that area Wednesday, overnight, and early Thursday.

After that, Russell said they found information that she made her way back to the Winona area, then traveled to Trempealeau, Rushford, and the La Crosse area. She was last seen in the La Crosse area Wednesday.

“We do not know where she’s at, but we have no reason to believe that she’s not doing OK right now,” said Russell. “We do want to find her, locate her, and make sure she’s OK.”

Photo from Goodview Police showing Leigh Meska in a Winona store.

He asked that if she sees coverage about the story, she contact law enforcement so they can make sure she’s all right.

“We really don’t know, but we’re here to help you,” said Meska’s mother Sue, who spoke to Leigh in response to a question as to why her daughter disappeared. She and her husband Mike appeared with Chief Russell and Winona County Sheriff Ron Ganrude.

Speaking directly to her daughter, she said, “We hope and pray, Leigh, that if you are listening, that you know that we love you, and we want you to continue to remain safe.” Her voice breaking, “We want you to know that we love you immensely and we need you to come home so that we can put our arms around you and love you and help you be there for Cameron (her son) who loves you, who thinks he’s got the best mom in the world.”

Mike and Sue Meska

There’s no information on where she is right now according to Winona County Sheriff Ron Ganrude.

Members of the La Crosse Police Department, FBI, Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, Olmsted County, and Winona area law enforcement, totalling roughly 50 people, searched for Meska Thursday. Russell said through their combined efforts, they were able to develop the information on her disappearance.


GOODVIEW, Minn. (WXOW) – Authorities plan a 3:30 p.m. news conference for an update on the search for Leigh Meska as the search for her continues into its second day.

She was last seen Wednesday morning leaving her home in Goodview for her job at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester.

Goodview Police said she normally takes the bus for Mayo Clinic employees, but Wednesday she was running late and chose to drive instead.

Winona County Sheriff Ron Ganrude told KTTC that five units from Winona County, five units from Olmsted County, Rochester Police, State Patrol, and a State Patrol helicopter are all involved in Thursday’s physical search.

Other law enforcement agencies such as the Houston County Sheriff’s Office are sharing Meska’s picture and information on Facebook.

Ganrude said the Civil Air Patrol may also be brought in.

RELATED: Search on for missing Goodview woman

Ganrude said they do not know what route Meska was taking on her way to Rochester.

Officials are searching I-90, Highway 14, County Road 9 and multiple back roads.

Here’s a description of Leigh Meska. She’s 5 ft. 3 in. and 125 lbs. She was wearing a sweater with black leggings and a red jacket.

She was driving a 2014 Gray Chevy Impala with Minnesota license plate: 136MWK.

Anyone with information that can help police locate Meska is asked to call the Goodview Police Department at (507) 452-1400 or the Winona County Law Enforcement Center at (507) 457-6492.

Kevin Millard

Kevin Millard

Kevin Millard-Social Media Digital Content Manager for WXOW.

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