UPDATE: Ron and Mary Tarnowski were found deceased near Brookston on Saturday, Aug. 5; foul play is not suspected. Details here.


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Authorities on Friday continued to search for Ronald and Mary Tarnowski, the Duluth couple missing since last weekend, and a new lead gave a clue as to what direction they were headed.

Video shows the couple stopping at the Country Corner store in Brookston at 1 p.m last Saturday, the last documented sighting of the couple.

Steve Lasky, the couple's nephew, said the family was focusing on that Brookston sighting in the ongoing search for the vulnerable couple.

The couple hasn’t been heard from since the morning of July 29, and relatives say that’s highly unusual - that the couple never travels far and always keeps in contact with family.

Ron is 82 and in the early stages of dementia. Mary is 78 and suffers from right side paralysis and has difficulty speaking.

“We know they were in the Culver's (near the Miller Hill Mall) at 11:30 and at the Brookston store at 1. … Now we’re thinking they may have been on their way to Grand Rapids, where their boys (sons) were in a swap meet at the fairgrounds. We don’t know, but it’s something,’’ Lasky told the News Tribune on Friday afternoon.

Later Friday, the family reported a “credible sighting” of the couple in Swan River, about halfway between Floodwood and Grand Rapids, around 2 p.m. last Saturday. They also were not ruling out a tip that the couple may have been seen south of that area on State Highway 65.

Lasky said Cook and Lake County sheriff’s offices did extensive searches after a possible sighting of the couple's SUV up the North Shore. But the searches turned up nothing.

“We don't think that was them now. We’re focusing on Brookston and Highway 2,” he said.

Ron and Mary Tarnowski
Ron and Mary Tarnowski

They were not carrying cellphones or credit cards, and an OnStar system in their vehicle was not activated. The couple’s vehicle is a pewter 2005 Chevrolet Tahoe with black plastic fender flares and Minnesota license plate 852JXG. Police are asking anyone who sees that vehicle or the couple to call 911.