The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


June 19, 2014

100 searchers come up empty

NATALIE — The search for a Point Township man missing since Wednesday evening in Weiser State Forest was to resume this morning after nearly 100 emergency workers combed the expansive tract for him all day Thursday, state officials said.

Searchers were to be pulled from the forest as night fell Thursday, nearly 24 hours after the family of Michael Kenney, 54, reported him missing. About 10 searchers would continue on drivable roads in the forest through the night.

“We have 8,000 acres. It’s a lot of woods and trails,” said Robert Kurilla, assistant district forester at the Weiser Forest District Resource Management Center in Aristes.

The forest “gets a lot of use from hikers, bikers, runners, people walking their dogs.”

Searchers will continue their focus on Weiser State Forest, Kurilla said.

Kenney’s Toyota sedan was discovered about 3 a.m. at a parking lot along Route 54 near the state forest restrooms, with its windows down and the keys inside.

Kenney is 6-feet, 1-inch tall, of thin build and has blue eyes. He is known as a good runner in sound physical shape, Kurilla said, and a frequent visitor to Weiser State Forest. Cell phone reception at the forest is spotty at best and usually unavailable, Kurilla said.

The search includes the areas surrounding three reservoirs, Kurilla said. Divers have not yet been summoned.

Two to four Hasty Teams were part of Thursday’s search, Kurilla said. These squads of up to a dozen highly trained searchers quickly spread out in pairs to look for clues, such as footprints or broken branches. The team seeks to move fast through the area where a person might be injured or stopped to rest.

The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources got the call about 10 p.m. Wednesday, Kurilla said, after Kenney didn’t return after he said he was going running at the Roaring Creek Tract of the state forest in Coal Township, Northumberland County.

The Bureau of Forestry, which oversees DCNR, is coordinating the search. Brian Price is the search manager. The case comes under Point Township police, as Kenney is a resident of that municipality.

Among the nearly 100 searches are Coal and Mount Carmel township police, state police at Stonington and the tracking K-9 from Union County sheriff’s office. The Pennsylvania Game Commission and various first responder companies also were on the scene Wednesday.

DCNR has been in contact with Kenney’s family and kept them apprised of the search, Kurilla said. Phone calls to the Kenney home were not answered Thursday.


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