The family of a San Luis Obispo man missing since Dec. 23 is organizing a ground search scheduled for Friday and possibly Saturday.
Also, San Luis Obispo County Crime Stoppers announced Wednesday that it is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to 74-year-old George Carpenter’s location.
Carpenter was reported missing after he took the family’s black Labrador retriever to Laguna Lake Park and didn’t return home.
He has mild dementia and has been without his medication since then — likely making him disorientated and confused.
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The San Luis Obispo Police Department performed initial searches for Carpenter last week, and a CHP helicopter flew over several rural areas of the county. Law enforcement officials say that without some sort of lead, it is impossible to know where to search next.
Beth Wonson, Carpenter’s daughter-in-law, said there has been an outpouring of community response to his disappearance, and that dozens of people have offered to assist with additional searches.
Volunteers, who will work in pairs or groups, are asked to meet at the first parking lot near the entrance of Laguna Lake Park at 9 a.m. Friday. The search will cover a 25-mile radius of San Luis Obispo County.
The county will be sectioned off, and volunteers will be asked to drive through parking lots, rest areas and campgrounds to look for Carpenter’s missing truck and check with rangers and park attendants.
Volunteers are also asked to bring a snack and water in case they come across Carpenter or his missing dog, Scooter. Each team will be given fliers to hand out and hang up during the rounds. People will also be asked to provide a cell phone number at sign-in so that coordinators can communicate during the process.
Searchers are asked to call the San Luis Obispo Police Department at 781-7317 immediately if they find anything they suspect might be related to Carpenter’s disappearance.
“I am hearing from people all over the state,” said Wonson, adding that past friends of Carpenter have searched areas as far away as Tehachapi, and Hermosa and Redondo beaches.
“Some of these people offering to help are complete strangers,” she said. “Thank God for them.”
For more information about Friday’s search, e-mail Wonson at firstname.lastname@example.org.