A search involving as many as 30 people that took place today at John Bryan State Park for a missing Yellow Springs man has come to an end and was unsuccessful.
Leonid “Lonya” Clark, 26, has been missing since mid-January. His father Eric Clark previously said family members were concerned Lonya Clark was missing in part because he was traumatized after he helped to clean up an apartment in December that was the scene of a fatal accidental shooting. While Clark had no connection to the shooting, he was deeply troubled after he volunteered to help clean.
"We really still just have to hope either he's with somebody, somewhere, he's hitched a ride, but we tempered that with the idea too that he did not have any identification, he has not been on his medications, and he had no money whatsoever,” Clark said.
Clark said having all the people out today helping and the people who have been searching is amazing.
“I think the amazing thing for me is that when we pulled out the map for Yellow Springs and the map that we were given by the police department had every single resident and every single address and as I started to mark every single one of these houses it was frankly stunning to see the coverage of this town, how many people know this person and know him well enough to be involved,” he said.
Groups involved in the search include: Buckeye Search & Rescue dogs, Yellow Springs police, Greene County Sheriff’s Office and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
"We had the dog teams, we had ODNR, we had the Greene County Sheriff, Miami Twp. Fire Department and Yellow Springs Police Department and we focused on John Bryan State Park with then a side trip out to the old town reserve towards Xenia," Clark said.
Staging began at 9 a.m. at the maintenance building off John Bryan Park Road.
"This search seems similar to other ones in that the team shows up, they look at the maps of the area, the terrain, what sorts of obstacles they're gonna face and then they divide everything up into grids and then each team goes out with a handler, a dog and then at least one or two representatives of either law enforcement or ranger and each one is in charge of their own grid,” Clark said. “When they're finished they bring the dogs back, the GPS trackers map exactly where they've been, they can see if there have been any gaps in the coverage and then they start again. They divide up the rest of the grids and go back out again."
Clark said he hopes the end result at least brings closure.
“It is a challenge for us. We often wonder what for us is gonna be the moment of closure on this. At some point we need to know what has happened and so we're hoping for the best but we have to plan for the worst," he said. “I think that more of what brings us hope is that we don’t find anything at all because then there is that possibility that he’s alive.”
Clark said they found a person who’s an acquaintance of Leonid Clark that set up camp in the area that Leonid was known to live. He said investigators will be interviewing this person in the coming days.
According to Clark, there are three remaining grids of the park they still need to search, which they plan to do within the next two to three weeks.