Man Still Missing Despite Search
By Hicham Raache
Times Record • email@example.com
Thursday, April 23, 2009 9:06 AM CDT
Although a massive search continued Wednesday with help from the National Guard, a missing Jenny Lind senior citizen has yet to be located.
About 100 search-and-rescue operatives from agencies across Sebastian and surrounding counties searched Jenny Lind on the ground and from the air Wednesday but could still not find 66-year-old Billy Wayne Wheeler, according to Capt. William Hollenbeck of the Sebastian County Sheriff’s Office.
Wheeler went missing from a residence at Booth and Woodings Low roads sometime early Tuesday morning. Family members brought Wheeler, a former Fort Smith resident, to live with them because he suffers from bouts of confusion. A family member checked in Wheeler’s room at 12:30 a.m. Tuesday and found him safe in bed, but by 5:30 a.m. he was gone.
With the Sebastian County Sheriff’s Office leading the search effort, rescue workers and members of law enforcement and rural fire departments from Sebastian, Crawford and Franklin counties searched the rural expanse of Jenny Lind throughout Tuesday. The Arkansas State Police and Civil Air Patrol contributed pilots and aircraft to search from the sky, but Wheeler could not be located.
The search was scaled back during Wednesday’s early morning hours; however, thermal and infrared technology was used to search in the dark.
The broader search recommenced Wednesday morning, with agents riding through creeks and wooded areas on ATVs and on horseback. An Arkansas Army National Guard helicopter crew also joined the Civil Air Patrol in an aerial effort, but as of Wednesday night, Wheeler was still not found, Hollenbeck said.
The search was expanded Wednesday to the borders of Fort Chaffee and Greenwood, Hollenbeck said.
He said authorities will discuss this morning whether the search should be expanded beyond Jenny Lind.
Wheeler, who goes by the nickname “Butch,” is described as having gray hair and is around 6 feet tall. When last seen, he was wearing a red flannel shirt and gray pants. It is possible he is not wearing shoes, Hollenbeck said.
Hollenbeck asks that anyone who has seen Wheeler contact the Sebastian County Sheriff’s Office at (479) 783-1051. He also asks that Jenny Lind residents keep an eye out for Wheeler.