MONROE COUNTY, W.Va. — A North Carolina man remained missing Tuesday, 10 days after he was last seen in a remote Monroe County hunting camp.

Police with the West Virginia Dept. of Natural Resources said Timmy Ray Vernon, 22, of King, N.C., was camping with friends in the remote region close to the Virginia border when he struck out on a hike alone.

“There’s not much thereā€”it’s big country and National Forest land,” said Capt. Larry Case with the law enforcement section of the DNR. “He was at a hunting camp with friends from North Carolina, and he walked from the cabin on Saturday afternoon and nobody saw him again.”

A day after leaving the camp, Vernon managed to use his cell phone to call 911 and was able to speak with DNR police officers on two occasions. Case said the use of the phone led searchers to conclude he made it to a high point on Potts Mountain to get a signal.

“They had vehicles set up on different roads and they were hitting their sirens,” said Case. “He was going to walk toward them, but he never walked out and we don’t know why.”

Officers also tried to pinpoint the location of his cell phone using GPS technology.

“They were working off a couple of different cell phone pings,” Case said. “That area was searched extensively with our trackers and a couple of different search dogs, but with no luck.”

By the third day of his disappearance, the phone battery evidently died and no further contact was made. A large number of volunteers searched the rugged area for several days last week. Officers from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and the Paint Creek, Va., volunteer fire department were also involved. As time passed the search eventually broke up with no fresh information on where Vernon might be.

Case said searchers tried using a helicopter, but the foliage was too thick to make any aerial location.

“The area is rough and this is the time of year when the foliage is probably thickest.” Case said.

Although the investigation is still open, Case said most of the major search was called off. A few smaller search parties, organized by private citizens, have continued to comb the wilderness.

“I know the family is worried and concerned,” Case said. “I would be too if it was my son or family member, but right now we really don’t have anything new to tell them.”

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  • MOCO man

    I have been in there and the area WAS THOROUGHLY one point he was on the phone and told to come to the siren sound........he did not do that. From where he was on the was walked in twenty minutes on Saturday. So yes Marion.........everything has been done that can be done........he isn't wanting to be found!!!

    • Marion

      Hey Moco man , I hope you are right. Just doesn't add up.

  • Woodchuck

    They go all out to find a few marijuana plants but they give up on finding a life? Come on man.

  • rick

    There is obviously more to this story than being told. A 22 yr old guy who is not injured and healthy could have walked out to a road in any direction. I heard this guy was armed and had some kind of warrants also. The National Guard do not do searchs of this type and the technology that some are speaking of does not exist. Anyone who is really lost should stop and build a fire and shelter. They will be found if anyone really activates the system

  • griff

    enough griping about the DNR. If you that are critical know so much why don't you go find him. Then teach him the "buddy" system--you don't go hiking by your self.

  • Marion

    The area hasn't been searched thoroughly enough, period ! There is a man out there lost! Come on man do something ! What a joke with our DNR law enforcements leadership. Oh yea JES UH OH. Must be posing for another picture for this inside page of the game regulations booklet. ! What joke what a shame.

  • Independent View

    Even during the Vietnam War, American helicopter door gunners had extremely sensitive odor detecting devices that could discern human urine from animal's urine in the jungle. Surely, that technology still exists and has probably been even more refined.
    Giving up the search and sitting on one's hands is not a proper response and it should be an insult to the Natural Resources Police that private citizens have not stopped the search.

  • MOCO man

    The national guard isn't needed. Helicopters, tracking dogs, cadaver dogs........and many many people have searched the area to no avail. The nat'l guard can't do anything that hasn't already been done by the DNR, Monroe Co Deputies, authorities from Va, and local volunteer firefighters-/----mostly ex military..........the area has been searched pretty thoroughly........

    • James 2014

      Obviously not or he would have been found by now.

  • Jim

    What with all the military equipment cops are getting for free nowadays, I'd think they'd have thermal imaging capability and be able to see him right through the trees.

    • Mark

      Exactly. You can. I used it in the military. Heck you can even see the level of fuel in those huge above ground tanks during the daylight. What the heck kinda response is this anyways. Even some helicopters have that type capability. Where is the governor once again? Moral of the story, don't get lost in the forests in this state or you will be left for dead.

      • FungoJoe

        It is called FLIR. Most police and military helicopters have it. The fact they are not using it shoud tell you something. Deceased bodies don't give off a heat signature.
        Wasn't there reports of a wild lion roaming the forest in Greenbrier County last year? Monroe is next door to Greenbrier. Hmm.

  • Shocked

    There should be an all out search underway effort by the National Guard. I can't believe we just let this subside down to a few small groups of volunteers with no real support. Unbelievable.