Search for man yields no new clues

A group of about 200 volunteers gathered Friday at Laguna Lake Park to search for George Carpenter, the 74-year-old man who was reported missing Dec. 23.

While the daylong effort did not result in his discovery or clues to his whereabouts, Carpenter’s family was nonetheless thankful for the showing of concern.

Beth Wonson, Carpenter’s daughter-in-law, said she was overwhelmed at the turnout.

“I knew a lot of people would come out to help, but this is beyond what I anticipated,” she said.

Carpenter is an avid hiker suffering from mild dementia. He has been without his medications since he disappeared after going to Laguna Lake Park, and his credit card has not been used. The location of Carpenter’s dog and vehicle is also unknown.

After receiving e-mails and phone calls from people wanting to help with additional searches, Carpenter’s family organized Friday’s search.

A local Starbucks Coffee store donated a canister of hot coffee for the volunteers.

The group divided into 10 teams, and each group was assigned one part of San Luis Obispo County to search.

“We are hoping today’s search will give us a lead,” Wonson said as the groups were getting organized in the morning. “We haven’t had any so far, and we’ve been unable to send out search-and-rescue teams or helicopters to look for George.”

Search party volunteer Leslie Menges, 56, a San Luis Obispo native, did not know Carpenter personally, but she had reasons to relate to his story. She has a 96-year-old mother who suffers from advanced dementia and lives in a facility close to Laguna Lake Park.

“The turnout is fantastic,” Menges said. “It is great to see the community pulling together like this; it says a lot about our community.”

Have you seen George Carpenter?

George Carpenter is described as a white man with gray hair and green eyes. He is about 5 feet 11 inches tall and weighs 170 pounds, police said, and was driving a 1989 Jeep Comanche. His black Labrador retriever, Scooter, does not have a tail and is wearing a black collar with Carpenter’s home phone number on the dog tag. San Luis Obispo police ask that anyone with information on his possible whereabouts call 781-7317.