An Arizona search and rescue group is expanding its search for an 85-year-old east Mesa man with dementia missing since Dec. 24.
Arizona Search, Track and Rescue, a Phoenix-based nonprofit organization, is expanding its search for Hugh Turner beyond Mesa, where he was last seen at his home in the Red Mountain Ranch neighborhood about noon before he went for a walk.
The search now is including the entire Valley and a little west of it, said Kristi Smith, search coordinator for the group, which comprises about 40 active volunteers including retired law enforcement officers.
The organization, which began assisting Mesa police in the search for Turner on Jan. 1, has had anywhere from 60 to 120 people helping to find him and currently is following up on leads in an attempt to confirm sightings so he can be safely located. Volunteers are posting fliers and going door to door in areas where people reported seeing Turner, who lives in the 6500 block of East Sugarloaf Street in the Red Mountain Ranch neighborhood off of Power Road.
Authorities and the group will review video surveillance on a Valley Metro bus on North 44th Street in Phoenix between Thomas and Osborn roads on Dec. 30, when a woman reported seeing Turner.
Currently, the group is following up on three reported sightings of Turner. Overall, there have been eight confirmed sightings overall, with most of them coming in the first few days he went missing.
“We need to get outside of Mesa,” Smith said of the search. “We’re trying to get more confirmed real-time sightings so we can find him. A lot of police departments are short staffed and don’t have the manpower to go door to door. We have people who are experienced in missing persons searches and search dogs who pick up on scents. We also raise public awareness.”
Turner is 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighs 150 pounds and is balding with white hair and has blue eyes. He also was wearing a tan hat, a navy blue jacket and tan pants. He has a heart condition and requires medication.
Anyone who sees Turner can call Mesa police at (480) 644-2211 or their local police in another jurisdiction.
Arizona Search, Track and Rescue can be reached at (623) 878-9149 or (623) 695-3926. The group assists in about 40 searches a year, mostly in Arizona, but also aids in missing persons searches out of state and even internationally, Smith said. For more information about the organization, visit www.azstar.org.
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