BIG RAPIDS (WWJ/AP) – Authorities say an aerial search of Mark Twain National Forest in southern Missouri didn’t find a missing Michigan man whose car was discovered earlier in the remote area.
Forty-nine-year-old Fred Byrne of Big Rapids has been missing since Feb. 12, when he dropped off his son at Hope College in Holland, Mich., and visited his mother. Authorities said Byrne mentioned that he planned to stop at a mall to buy a Valentine’s Day gift for his wife before returning home, but he never made it home.
Police in Big Rapids say searches by air and ground, including using tracking dogs, have been unsuccessful. More efforts are planned by police in Missouri to find Byrne or uncover leads.
Byrne’s Chevy Malibu was found Feb. 14 parked along a forest service road near Van Buren, Mo., which is about 160 miles southwest of St. Louis and roughly 560 miles from where he was last seen. Big Rapids police said Byrne’s wallet and keys were in the car.
Police say Byrne’s vehicle was brought back and processed by the Michigan State Police Crime Lab, although preliminary findings didn’t produce any new leads in the case.
Byrne is described as 6’3″ and 290 pounds with blond hair and blue eyes. He was last seen wearing a dark brown Carhartt style jacket, blue jeans and a ball cap.
The Big Rapids Public Safety Department released a map with a possible route from Michigan to Missouri that may have been used in hopes that anyone along the way may have some information and will come forward.
Anyone with information on Byrne’s whereabouts is asked to contact the Big Rapids Department of Public Safety at 231-796-4811 or 231-527-0005.
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