Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

November 14, 2013

Searchers remain optimistic in hunt for missing man

ANNE ELGIN
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

CEDAR BLUFF, Va. — As the search stretches into almost a week, authorities have not given up hope on finding the missing hunter.

Eric Smith, 41, of Cedar Bluff, was reported missing last Friday by his wife after he did not return from a day of hunting.

Many volunteers including friends, community members and co-workers of Smith have been searching almost non-stop in hopes of locating Smith.

Search and Rescue dogs, helicopters, local police and fire departments, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fishers, search and rescue teams and West Virginia State Police are also assisting in looking for Smith.

CONSOL Energy Vice President of Central Appalachia Operations, Jack Richardson said, “our thoughts and prayers are with Eric, his family and those involved  in the search for him since he was reported missing by his family last Friday after he did not return from a hunting trip earlier in the day near his Cedar Bluff home.”

“A number of our employees, who work side-by-side with Eric, are among those who have volunteered their time to assist in the search with members of law enforcement, local fire departments and other community volunteers. We continue to hope that our employees and volunteers are successful in locating Eric and for their safe return,” Richardson said.

Smith is an experienced hunter and very familiar with the area, he was also hunting on property that he owned, according to Cedar Bluff Police Chief David Mills.

Volunteers and authorities continued their search Wednesday and plan to continue to searching until Smith is found.

— Contact Anne Elgin at aelgin@bdtonline.com