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Search for missing man called off

A search and rescue mission to find a man reported missing last Friday was unsuccessful and was terminated Monday night.

A missing persons report was filed Saturday for David Bruce Ritchie, of Bayfield, last seen Friday in the Beaver Meadows area near the Archuleta and La Plata county line, where he exited a vehicle and entered the woods.

By Monday, Archuleta County, Upper San Juan Search and Rescue, Mounted Search and Rescue, and La Plata County Search and Rescue, as well as numerous others, were on the lookout for Ritchie.

The search proved unsuccessful and was terminated Monday night.

“He was missing of his own free will and we did everything we could to try to locate him in the immediate area and surrounding area,” said Archuleta County Undersheriff Jim Saunders.

Additionally, Saunders said the search didn’t fit the normal criteria for search and rescue (SAR), which primarily deals with those lost, including juveniles, not by free will, and those who are injured.

SAR, Saunders pointed out, is made up entirely of volunteers, many of whom have regular jobs.

“If they (the missing) don’t want to be found, it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to find them,” Saunders said.

Ritchie is 59 years old, 5-7, approximately 175 pounds, with gray hair and brown eyes.

Anyone with information is urged to call law enforcement.

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