Welch, 54, got into his Pontiac Montana on September 2 and left without telling anyone where he was going. It took until October 18 for him to be found, when a hitchhiker happened upon him in an isolated patch of Utah desert, nearly 850 miles away from home.
Authorities say Welch's car plummeted into the ravine where his car was found in early September. Injured and trapped in his car, Welch wrote love letters to his wife and each of his four sons before he died.
A day after Welch left home, relatives contacted the police to report that he had not come home.
"At this time officers confirmed that there was no reason to believe Welch was currently in danger of harm or had known medical issues that may cause him to be in danger," the Riley County Police Department said.
Three days after that, a missing persons report was filed. It took 46 days to find him inside his car in a ravine.
Police said that it appeared Welch had fallen asleep while driving, as tire marks did not indicate braking or turning before the crash. They are unsure how long he was trapped in his car before he died.