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Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Search for Abisha

On October 21, 2010, Abisha Ray Mounce, also known as Abe, left Atlanta, Georgia in his 2007 Black Jeep Wrangler (Georgia License Plate AWR 2270).  Abe told his wife he was going "to the woods" to hike and would return in a couple of weeks, which is not unusual for Abe.  He's an avid backpacker, having completed an Appalachian Trail thru-hike from Maine to Georgia in 2009, for which, according to his mother, Abe planned carefully. 
 
Abe's vehicle was first noticed along the Continental Divide Trail, parked at North Crestone Trailhead just north of Crestone, Colorado, on 10/26/10 (though the family did not know this at the time). Abe's mom found out he was missing on November 12th and, with his wife, filed a missing person's report with the Atlanta Police Department.  On 11/30, a Saguache County deputy checked Atlanta PD's missing persons list and saw a picture and description of the jeep. Saguache did what Abe's mom calls a "small" SAR mission that week and then had the larger search organized by December 4th. The Colorado National Guard was initially going to participate with a helicopter but then pulled out due to the amount of time between first sighting and the date of the SAR response. Extensive SAR efforts near Crestone have been unsuccessful.
 
Also according to Abe's mom, at the trailhead north of Crestone where his Jeep was found, search dogs found scent only in the Jeep, but nothing on the trail.  At first, there was just one dog, and then the 40-man SAR team with 3 K-9s tried a second time that same week, during which snow was still sparse--maybe 3 to 5 inches max in some places in late November. One SAR member compiled the maps of areas that had been searched and continued searching on his own for 15 more days.

A website has been set up to share information about the search for Abisha. This is the search summary from that site:
  • Abisha leaves Atlanta, Georgia 10/21/10 driving a Black Jeep Wrangler
  • Deputy observes Jeep parked at the North Crestone Trailhead on 10/26/10
  • Possible sightings in Crestone, Colorado around late October
  • Possible sightings in Alamosa, Colorado around late October or early November
  • SAR member notices Jeep missing (for no more than a day) on 11/03/10
  • SAR member does not notice anything unusual during hikes in N. Crestone or nearby
    drainages from 11/2/2010 - 11/9/2010
  • SAR member does not notice anything unusual during hikes both south and north
    of Crestone, Colorado from 11/14/2010 - 11/21/2010
  • Family is informed of the abandoned Jeep on 11/30/2010
  • Jeep is towed by Saguache County Sheriff's Office on 11/30/2010
  • Official Search is conducted in North Crestone drainage by 40 SAR members on 12/04/10
  • Unofficial Mountain Search by S&R Member (12/08/2010 - 1/08/2011)
  • Unofficial Road Search by friend Sean Monesson (1/02/2011 - 1/27/2011)
See http://www.searchforabisha.org for more information, including additional photos of Abe, areas searched, and Abe's bio.

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Announcement: SAR Conference date change

The Arizona State Search and Rescue Conference held in Heber, Arizona, has been rescheduled for April 15 -17.

The K9 portion of the conference will, however, still be held from April 28 - May 1, but in Flagstaff instead of Heber. For information, please contact Cindy McArthur at

3 comments:

Ingmar Ngawang Pema Dechen Zangmo said...

Thank you so much for posting this! I really apreciate it. If you take a look at the website, and look at the trip reports etc, it seems to me Dan is modeling something that could be very useful for others who need ongoing searches for missing hikers. I am not the expert here, many of your readers are. So please take a look at Dan's excellent work. I appreciate him and sar people everywhere.

Thank you.

Abisha's Mom

Ingmar Ngawang Pema Dechen Zangmo said...

http://www.searchforabisha.org/index.htm

Remains, likely Abisha's, were found last Monday. Details are on the link above.

Thank you all for your sar service. It is an important thing for us family memebers of people who go missing.

Ingmar

Deb Lauman said...

Thank you for the update. Please let me -- and the readers here -- know if it somehow turns out NOT to be Abisha. But I realize that's unlikely. My condolences, Ingmar.

I'll do an update post soon to let people know who may not see this.