Search Called Off for Missing Hiker

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CHAFFEE COUNTY, CO -- A massive search by land and air for a Bay Village attorney who went missing on one of Colorado's tallest mountains was called off Wednesday after four days of searching.

Gene George, 64, of Bay Village, has been missing in Colorado since Saturday, according to investigators.

Investigators said George went for a hike on Mount Harvard, which stands at more than 14,000 feet, and never came back down.

Wednesday evening, Colorado's Chaffee County Sheriff's Department officials said in a news release, " ...absent additional clues as to the man's location, the active field search operation would be suspended as of late today. Informational posters with the man's photograph have been prepared and will be distributed to local outdoor sports retailers and posted at the North Cottonwood Creek trailhead. Although the search mission has been scaled back, investigation into Mr. George's disappearance will continue and efforts to locate him will resume in the event new evidence surfaces."

Chaffee County Sheriff's Department Undersheriff John Spezze said a motel manager called police Sunday after George failed to check out of his room.

"From what we understand, we think Gene began hiking Thursday or Friday," Spezze said. "We are pretty sure that some people had seen him and actually tried to have helped him a little bit, coming down the mountain. The last time he was suspected to have been seen was Saturday afternoon around 4:00 p.m."

Deputies found George's car locked in a parking lot at the base of a hiking trail, according to Spezze.

That night, a snow storm blew in.

"Sunday, we had a cold front come in and we had about a foot of snow on the mountains and lower temperatures and high winds," Spezze said.

Monday, the weather cleared and the search was stepped up. Rescuers used scent dogs, helicopters and about 80 people at a time to scour the mountain one section at a time, according to authorities.

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