|Written by Christopher Fox Graham|
Photo courtesy of the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office/Susan Bolling Photography.After a month, the Rev. Jim Schwartz is still missing.
The Rev. Jim Schwartz, the 66-year-old former pastor of Christ Lutheran Church, was last seen by his wife at their Village of Oak Creek home at 6:30 a.m. on Oct. 19. If you have seen him, contact YCSO at (928) 771-3260 with any information.
Schwartz, the 66-year-old former pastor of Christ Lutheran Church, was last seen by his wife at their Village of Oak Creek home at 6:30 a.m. on Oct. 19. Schwartz’s son, Jeremiah, said a neighbor reportedly saw his father halfway between home and the Kel Fox Trailhead later that morning.
Where Jim Schwartz went afterward, and his current whereabouts, are unknown. After an intense few weeks of searches around the Village, Jeremiah Schwartz said the family was forced to scale back the search.
“We’re not organizing large search efforts on a day-to-day basis,” Schwartz said.
The Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office Forest Patrol Unit joined the search, with deputies deploying search dogs and Guardian Air conducting a helicopter flyover on Oct. 21.
Schwartz said bloodhounds from Arizona Search Track & Rescue seemed to indicate a scent of Jim Schwartz on the Kel Fox Trail.
The initial outpouring of community support immediately after the disappearance leads Jeremiah Schwartz to believe they have effectively combed almost everywhere in a 5-mile radius and many areas within a 10-mile radius.
The family is torn, struggling with the possibility he may have suffered a diabetic episode — he is diabetic but not insulin-dependent. He takes maintenance medication but it is unknown if he had any with him. Yet, the family still holds on to hope he is alive somewhere else in the Verde Valley or has left the area, possibly by hitchhiking.
Jeremiah Schwartz said when his father was a pastor in Minnesota, he led large youth groups on long, seven- to 10-day hikes through the Bighorn Mountains in Wyoming. Those hikes were some of his father’s fondest memories.
In his retirement, Jim Schwartz expressed desire to go on long, overnight hikes. He purchased backpacks Oct. 15, but they are still at home, Jeremiah Schwartz said. Jim Schwartz likely had a tarp and a book about Arizona native plants with him, Jeremiah Schwartz said. He likely otherwise left home with minimal gear.
YCSO spokesman Dwight D’Evelyn stated in a press release a man matching Jim Schwartz’ description was seen in downtown Prescott on Oct. 22 and another sighting Oct. 27 reportedly placed him in Payson, but none of these leads could be verified.
Jeremiah Schwartz said unconfirmed reports have led some to mistakenly believe his father was found, and they have taken down flyers. The family is struggling to continue awareness Jim Schwartz is still missing. The family maintains the blog Find Jim Schwartz and a Facebook page.
Family members are also hiking around the Village and staying alert to signs of where Schwartz might be or have been.
Schwartz is 5 feet 8 inches tall, weighs 190 pounds and has graying brown hair. According to YCSO, Schwartz may have been wearing a black T-shirt, light gray fleece pullover — not a jacket as previously reported— khaki hiking pants with zip-off legs, navy blue waterproof jacket, brown Hi-Tec hiking boots, and a khaki brown hiking hat with LED lights. He was likely in possession of a black JanSport backpack probably containing some survival items including an orange tarp, compass, flashlight, an native plant book and possibly water purification tablets.
To date there has been no activity involving any of Schwartz’s bank or credit accounts since Oct. 19.
“He brought no money as far as we know,” Jeremiah Schwartz said.
Contact YCSO at (928) 771-3260 with any information.
Saturday, November 26, 2011
RED ROCK NEWS Article from Wednesday, November 23, 2011. That was DAY 36
Schwartz Family Struggles While Search Continues For Father, Jim