Officials scale back search for missing Port Orchard man

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

QUILCENE — The search for a missing 76-year-old Port Orchard man who was last reported to be in Olympic National Forest has been scaled back after last week’s multi-agency search.

“We’ve left the area, although we intend to send smaller crews in there in the next few days,” said Jefferson County Sheriff Chief Criminal Deputy Joe Nole, incident commander, on Friday.

Nole said the search area was approximately 5 square miles.

It is out of range for cellular phones, he said.

Cecil Socrates Mann was reported missing after failing to return from what family thought was a one-day fishing trip Sept. 15.

A garbled voicemail to his granddaughter that night caused her concern, and she reported it to the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office.

A triangulation of Mann’s phone determined the call to originate in the Quilcene area.

On Monday, a hiker reported finding Mann’s car, a 2007 Ford Focus, about 9 miles off U.S. Highway 101 near Quilcene in the Tunnel Creek area of the Hood Canal District of the national forest.

The undercarriage of the car had been significantly damaged from traveling along deeply rutted roads, law enforcement said.

Coordination of the ground search was turned over to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday.

Canvassed area

Search-and-rescue teams canvassed the area, composed of very steep terrain, until nightfall.

A helicopter search was completed by the Border Patrol and Guardian One out of King County.

Neither agency reported seeing any signs of the missing man.

Agencies involved in the search included the sheriff’s offices of Jefferson and Kitsap counties, Kitsap Explorer Search and Rescue, Jefferson Search and Rescue, Clallam Search and Rescue, Olympic Mountain Rescue and Jefferson County Emergency Management, along with three police dog teams.

Department of Emergency Management spokesperson Keppie Keplinger said “the case is still open” and will be managed off-site by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.

“The crews have done everything they can,” Keplinger said.

“The area on both sides of the road where the car was found had steep cliffs on both sides, and they searched the terrain very carefully.”

Keplinger said hikers heading into the search area will be notified of a missing person and will be given fliers describing Mann.

Anyone with information about Mann’s whereabouts should phone Nole at 360-344-9747.

________

Jefferson County Reporter Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at charlie.bermant@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: September 22. 2012 5:32PM
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