The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

January 7, 2013

Search shifts to river

Scores scouring park for missing Somerset man

OHIOPYLE — Crews looking for a missing Somerset man in Ohiopyle State Park now are focusing their efforts on the Youghiogheny River.

Jeremy Walker, 29, was last seen on New Year's Eve. He was reported missing on Wednesday.

Searchers have covered an 0.7-mile radius from a visitors center, located in the former Ohiopyle Train Station, where Walker’s vehicle was found.

“We have done an exhaustive land search at this point. ... We have pretty much exhausted all possibilities that he is on land, which is leading toward our focus on the river now,” said Ohiopyle State Park Assistant Manager Stacie Hall.

More than 100 individuals have participated in the search.

“We are so grateful for the outpouring of love and support for Jeremy and our family,” posted the missing man’s brother, Jody Andrew Walker, on Facebook.

“Over 140 volunteers and trained personnel searched for Jeremy yesterday. We still haven't found him, but a huge ‘thank you’ to everyone! Please keep us in your prayers.”

Searchers from Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia and Maryland have assisted.

“They’re coming from all over,” said Hall.

Walker’s whereabouts are known until slightly before midnight on Dec. 31. Tracking dogs followed his scent to a walking bridge near the old train station. The bridge crosses the Youghiogheny River.

A helicopter has been used to scan the area from the air.

“A search like this is not common,” said Hall.

Walker’s financial records and computer have been studied. Investigators have considered the possibility he hopped on a passing train or walked away. “We’ve run through a dozen scenarios,” Hall said. “When you look at the probability of them, something like (him getting on a passing train) is pretty low, but it’s always a potential that he’s out there happy and warm somewhere, and we just can’t find him.”

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