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Contact: Caven Clark, Public Information Officer, 870/365-2790
Searcy County resident Wilson Taylor left early Friday morning for a turkey hunt along the Buffalo River near Baker Ford but did not return by nightfall and was reported overdue by family members early Saturday morning. Buffalo National River Search & Rescue coordinated with Searcy County to initiate a search of the river corridor and adjacent lands which got underway by 10 am Saturday. Taylor, in his mid-forties, was hunting via kayak in an area well known to him, his friends, and his family.
During the course of the day Saturday some of Taylor's personal items were recovered from the riverbanks. Foot and horseback searches were undertaken intensively and repeatedly on land surfaces along both sides of the river while helicopter sweeps were made along the river corridor. Family members offered many suggestions as to likely locations based on Taylor's recent conversations about where he had seen turkeys.
By midday Sunday approximately 125 responders were deployed along, on, and in the river. The St. Joe school was generously offered as a command center for coordinating the operation and continues in that capacity at this time. Monday's search is focused on the river corridor with the use of divers and boats with sonar equipment. With the outpouring of support by family, friends, and area communities we are not requesting additional volunteers at this time.
In addition to Buffalo National River Search & Rescue, a partial list of responders includes: Arkansas Alliance of Bloodhound Search Specialists from Russellville, Arkansas Forestry Commission, Arkansas Game & Fish Commission, Baxter County Sheriff's Department Aviation, Carroll County Dive Team, Harrison Swift Water Rescue, Madison County Emergency Response Team, Marion County Search & Rescue, Mennonite Disaster Services Search & Rescue, Newton County Sheriff's Department Search & Rescue, Searcy County Sheriffs Department, Tri-County Search & Rescue. Food provided by the American Red Cross, Searcy County Rural Assistance, McDonalds, and C&K Market and Garage in St. Joe. Our apologies for any omissions in the lists of support teams. We will provide updates to the search as they become available.