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Thursday, Sep. 18, 2014

Search intensifies for missing man

Monday, January 14, 2002

CHARLESTON - The search intensified Saturday for an Illinois man who has been missing for more than a month.

Walter Gibbs Sr., 73, of Alto Pass, Ill., was last seen Dec. 11 while driving to Thebes, Ill., to visit friends. On Saturday, Mississippi County Sheriff Larry Turley's office reported a second shoe was found near the river in the search area. Mississippi County officers, along with law enforcement officers from Johnston County and Union County, Ill., intensified the search Saturday on land with all-terrain wheelers.

On Tuesday, authorities who have been scouring the area using all-terrain vehicles shifted their search from rescue to recovery and from the ground to the water. Boats from Mississippi County and Ballard County, Ky., searched the water Wednesday.

Turley said he believes that when Gibbs - who was reported to be in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease and had heart problems - accidentally drove his truck off an embankment into a ditch, he got his guitar out of the truck and climbed to the top of the bank.

Authorities found the guitar and a shoe at the scene. He was traveling with his guitar because he was going to play music with a group of friends he'd visited every Tuesday evening for years.