Authorities ask public for help as search continues for missing Juneau man

Posted: Monday, May 17, 2010

It has been almost two days since 41-year-old Scott Walkenford last contacted family members and authorities are asking for anyone who saw him on Saturday afternoon to share where he was seen and what he was wearing.

"Right now we are just looking for ideas," Douglas Mountain Rescue's Steve Lewis said from the operations area along Mendenhall Loop Road on Sunday afternoon. "We have searched a wide area exhaustedly and now we will go back and try some areas again."

Walkenford had contacted a family member via text on Saturday afternoon, but would not say where he was. His vehicle was found Saturday night in the Mendenhall River School parking area. He is believed to be despondent.

A mass coordinated multi-agency search effort began Saturday evening using dogs, mountain rescue personnel and a helicopter around the school and Dredge Lake area. A Temsco helicopter flew over one-and-a-half hours in the dark, until 2 a.m., using an infrared night scope. Searchers rested shortly after that and began again at 6 a.m. Sunday morning.

Incident commander Bruce Bowler of SEADOGS stated: "Any information on Scott that can be obtained is greatly needed. All searchers have been exhausting their efforts and will continue to do so."

Juneau Mountain Rescue and Douglas Mountain Rescue have 25 trained searchers on scene. The Alaska State Troopers, Juneau Police Department, Forest Service and Coast Guard are also involved. Civilians have been paired with rescue professionals to further increase the search field. Five search dogs are scouring multiple locations.

By late Sunday afternoon each person involved in the search efforts had been on four separate missions. The search area has included the Mendenhall River School area, the banks of the Mendenhall River - both above and below the bridge and all of the Dredge Lake area. Searchers continue to widen their efforts.

"We are looking for anyone who might have seen him on Saturday," Alaska State Trooper Chris Umbs said. "We just have a rough description of what he might have been wearing. If anyone has seen him in the last two days or thinks they may have seen him we could really use that information."

There was a sighting of an individual walking along the banks of the Mendenhall River between noon and 6 p.m. on Saturday, but an identification was not positive.

Walkenford's son Kevin, 14, died in Arizona last year due to heat stroke.

• Contact Klas Stolpe at klas.stolpe@juneauempire.com.



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