Dozens of members of a San Diego search and rescue team continued their mission to find a Ramona man Saturday morning who has been missing for nearly a week, searching high and low for any clue that might lead to him.
Carl Salayer, 67, was last seen by his wife on Monday when he went to bed. Investigators believe he left his home in the 17000 block of Handlebar Road in Ramona between 2:30 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. Tuesday. He has not been heard from since.
Salayer suffers from Alheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, as well as dementia, and has to take medication for his ailments.
Earlier this week, the missing man’s wife of 48 years, Sheryl Salayer, told NBC 7 she is worried sick because her husband needs his medication.
Deputies with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and search and rescue volunteers have searched extensively for Salayer all week, to no avail. On Wednesday evening, teams focused their efforts in Lakeside where a retired deputy believes he may have spotted the man.
The search continued through Thursday and Friday with no trace of Salayer.
Saturday was no different.
Jan Caldwell of the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department said 69 people deployed at 9 a.m. on the search mission. Since Tuesday, more than 200 volunteers, six dogs and five horses have been involved in the search for Salayer.
On Saturday – the hottest day of the search thus far – Caldwell said searchers would be retracing their steps and looking in a few neighborhoods while also scouring along State Route 67. They plan to continue their efforts until night falls.
At this point, Caldwell said crews are hoping for the best but expecting the worst.
Due to how long Salayer has been missing, combined with hot days, brisk nights and lack of medication, Caldwell said the operation has become less of a rescue mission and more of a search for the man’s body.
Caldwell said that even if the search ends Saturday, the investigation into Salayer’s disappearance will continue.
Officials describe the missing man as 6-foot-3 and 150 pounds with blue eyes, balding gray hair and a moustache. A command post for the search has been established at Highland Valley and Handlebar roads, close to Salayer’s home.
Investigators said Salayer has a feeding tube and might only be wearing his undergarments since he disappeared in the middle of the night. If alive, he may be frightened and run if approached.
Despite the rugged terrain and open-ended search, Salayer’s loved ones are hopeful he’s still alive and will be found safe.
“They did find some clues where he's gone over big boulders and stuff. Even though he's elderly and disabled, he got around good. There's some areas where you can't get to by car, so any help [in the search] would be great,” family friend Danell Marks told NBC 7.
Officials said Saturday’s search includes about 40 teams. Some searchers will go door-to-door speaking with Ramona residents who may have seen Salayer. Deputies will use horses in the more rugged search areas and K-9 officers will attempt to trace Salayer’s scent.
Salayer’s wife said the worst part of this ordeal is not knowing if Salayer okay, or what he state of mind might be at this point without his medication.
"I just wish I knew what he was thinking, he talks about working all the time and I say where and he says ‘I don't know,’” said Sheryl.