GHEEN— The search for Glenn Stevenson, a Willow Valley Township man with Parkinson’s disease who went missing Sept. 2 near Gheen, has been fruitless as of Tuesday, but authorities …
GHEEN— The search for Glenn Stevenson, a Willow Valley Township man with Parkinson’s disease who went missing Sept. 2 near Gheen, has been fruitless as of Tuesday, but authorities haven’t given up on finding him.
Official ground searches of the Gheen area had been suspended as of Monday, according to St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office lead investigator Andrew Feiro.
“The investigation is still currently active,” Feiro told the Timberjay on Monday. “There are current plans to continue further ground searches with a smaller group within the week with specialized search and rescue canines.”
Feiro estimated that sheriff’s office personnel and St. Louis County Rescue Squad members have spent about 33 hours actively searching for Stevenson and investigating his disappearance.
“A majority of the searches have been conducted by foot, which includes St. Louis County Rescue Squad members trained in tracking,” Feiro said. “Several flights have been conducted with drones by the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office.”
Feiro noted that the rescue squad routinely assists the sheriff’s office with ground searches, as its volunteers are specially trained in search and rescue.
Searchers have been combing a large area near Gheen where Stevenson’s cell phone is believed to be by pinging it. Feiro explained how a cell phone ping in a rural area such as Gheen isn’t able to exactly pinpoint a phone’s location in the same way a GPS signal might.
“Cell phone locating can be more difficult in rural locations due to numerous factors,” he said. “The location of the phone can be more or less accurate with the make and model of the cell phone, which includes the age and working condition of the phone.” The more cell towers that have contact with a phone the more precisely a rescuer can pinpoint its location. But in rural areas like Gheen, where there may only be one or two cell towers accessing a phone, pinged locations tend to be less precise. Hills and tree coverage can also reduce accuracy. “As a result, the accuracy of phone pings can range from a few feet to miles,” said Feiro.
Feiro said it was unknown at this time if Stevenson may have left the area.
Family, friends and neighbors of Stevenson have been actively involved in searching for him as well, Feiro said, although those efforts have not been coordinated with the sheriff’s office. Volunteers have combed miles on foot, horseback, and in vehicles looking for any clue as to Stevenson’s whereabouts.
“We are thankful for the family, friends, and residents of Gheen who have assisted in the search for Glenn Stevenson,” Feiro said. “We understand this is a difficult time and our thoughts are with the family and friends of Glenn.”
Stevenson has been without his Parkinson’s medications since Sept. 2, and his sister Kathy said she believed it was possible that he was suffering from a paranoid delusion when he disappeared.
“He’s probably running away from people because he thinks we’re going to do something to him,” she said.
Feiro said the sheriff’s office isn’t ready to give up on the search for Stevenson yet.
“As long as the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office receives tips and leads to investigate, we will continue to search for Glenn,” he said. “We will exhaust all relevant tools and resources that are available.”
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