About a hundred law enforcement and search-and-rescue personnel continued this week to scour the rocky, heavily wooded slopes leading up to Oventop Mountain in Sperryville, where an 80-year-old resident reported missing Saturday evening (April 30) is believed to have gone hiking last week.
Shenandoah National Park reported Thursday (May 5) that the search for Wallace Anderson would likely continue into the weekend.
Rappahannock County Sheriff Connie Compton said 75 trained officers, some from as far away as Spotsylvania and Hanover counties, walked the mountain and trails leading into Shenandoah National Park starting Sunday morning, joined by dog teams and, weather permitting, by helicopter search crews.
Anderson lives alone in a log cabin home on Split Rock Lane, off Old Hollow Road, just a few hundred feet from the park boundary. Compton said the missing man’s family reported on Saturday that they had not been able to reach Anderson, who reportedly enjoys hiking into the park or along local trails and roadways nearly every day, and they feared something might be wrong.
Sheriff Compton would not say whether any clues to Anderson’s possible whereabouts had been turned up by searchers.
Searchers on Sunday and Monday included members of both Piedmont Search & Rescue of Midlothian and Black Diamond Search & Rescue Council based in Marion, Va.; Virginia State Police and National Park Service Rangers, local and regional fire and rescue volunteers and law enforcement officers from Warren, Stafford, Hanover, Spotsylvania, Frederick, Clarke and other counties.
Anyone with information about Anderson, described as 5-foot-9 and about 145 pounds, is asked to call the RCSO at 540-675-3338.
Shenandoah National Park officials and other agencies were recently involved in another search that ended with discovery of remains of 31-year-old Nicole Mittendorff, a Fairfax County firefighter. Her body was found April 16 in some of the park’s most rugged terrain in Madison County, near the Whiteoak Canyon Trail. According to the medical examiner’s office, she committed suicide by hanging. That search lasted six days.
Shenandoah National Park has more photos of the search and rescue operation in a Flickr gallery here.