Crews spent Tuesday afternoon searching for a missing Statesville man whose car was found in the parking lot of the gamelands in the Chesterfield community Monday.
A car belonging to Dustin Gray, 25, was found in the parking lot off Johns River Loop on Monday, said Mercedes Johnson, Gray’s sister. Police told her that his keys and wallet were in the car.
“He didn’t tell anyone that he was leaving , which is really, really unlike him, and he actually doesn’t drive places that he doesn’t know because he doesn’t like to drive, it makes him anxious,” Johnson said.
Crews from the Burke County Rescue Squad, N.C. Wildlife Commission, Burke County EMS, Burke County Sheriff’s Office and Iredell County Sheriff’s Office all joined together Tuesday afternoon to conduct a hasty search of the area, said Deputy Fire Marshal Cecil Huffman.
“That’s a rapid run in the area to see if we can locate anything,” Huffman said. “Basically , we’ve got man trackers out to kind of actually see if they can find signs of where he was or where he left walking, and we’re going to go from there and see if we can find him.”
Some search teams went out through the woods near the gamelands where his car was found, while another team took a swift water rescue boat on Johns River in hopes of finding Gray.
“The area is thick,” Huffman said. “It actually does have a lot of swampy area … It’s going to be kind of treacherous for the searchers, but we’re going to make every effort we can to find him if he’s in the area.”
Johnson said her family doesn’t know anyone in Burke County, and she’s not sure why Gray would have come this way.
“We’re really unsure of what happened,” Johnson said. “We have no idea. This is really, really out of character for him. Extremely out of character for him … We know no one in Burke County, at all. No one.”
When she was told crews were searching the area for him, Johnson said she was happy.
“We’re really, really happy and really excited to hear that,” Johnson said. “We’ve been waiting and waiting on that to happen. I’m really thankful for everyone going out there. I really hope they find him and everything’s okay.”
She wanted Gray to know that his family loves him.
“[We] want him to know that we love him and that we’re worried and we really want him to come home,” Johnson said. “And that it’s okay, everything’s okay … We love him and we’re waiting on him to come home.”
Anyone with information on Gray or his whereabouts is asked to call the Burke County Sheriff’s Office at 828-438-5500.
Chrissy Murphy is a staff writer and can be reached at email@example.com or at 828-432-8941. Follow @cmurphyMNH on Twitter.