Search for missing man George Carpenter called off

The search for missing San Luis Obispo man George Carpenter has been suspended.

Authorities spent most of Sunday searching the rugged terrain between Big Sur and Fort Hunter Liggett in southern Monterey County where Carpenter’s truck was discovered Saturday. No signs of Carpenter, 74, who has dementia, have been found, according to the Monterey County Sheriff’s Department.

Carpenter went missing Dec. 23 after he drove to Laguna Lake Park in San Luis Obispo with his black Labrador retriever, Scooter. The dog turned up at a home near Gorda last week.

The search team, including six rescue and cadaver dogs, covered the areas that Carpenter likely would have been found, said Cmdr. Tracy Brown of the Monterey County Sheriff’s Department.

“The search is being suspended because of the weather and terrain and because we feel that we have covered the area most likely where he would be located,” said Brown. “We covered an area about a mile-and-a-half from the pickup and we found no information that would point us in a different direction to cover.”

Brown cautioned that loved ones of Carpenter should not attempt to do their own searches of the area because of the treacherous terrain.

“It is a rugged terrain and 3,300 foot elevation,” said Brown. “A person would have to be an extremely experienced hiker or backpacker to survive in that area. We don’t want to turn this into us having to look for additional people who get lost – which is easy to do in that area.”

--AnnMarie Cornejo

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