Search continues for elderly man who went missing in Acadia Parish

Posted at 5:08 PM, Feb 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-18 19:40:18-05

The search continues for an elderly man who went missing in Acadia Parish.

James Gunnels Jr., who is a Jennings-native, is 89 years old. The Navy and Air Force veteran left his assisted living facility in Alexandria Thursday night to go to the store. However, he never returned.

Family members say he suffers from dementia. The search for Gunnels is focused near Bluejay Road in Acadia Parish. It's not far from where his truck was found Friday.

"We have more traffic," a neighbor who lives in the area said. "We live in the rural so we don't normally have anybody that comes back here. So it's more people."

Volunteers have also been helping in the search for Gunnels. Deputies do not suspect foul play.

"We teamed up with Louisiana Wildlife & Fisheries," Acadia Parish Sheriff K.P. Gibson said. "Obviously, we're not very far from the Mermantau River area. We're searching there with their support and assistance. We also utilize drones. We have a local pilot. Fly overs are being done with spotters that work in that aspect. We're also working with canine systems."

Gunnels family members say Tuesday, deputies used SONAR to search the nearby water, but nothing was found.

"I know our goal is to look and see if maybe if he got into the outer area of the river near where the bayou is,"Gibson said. "It's not really deep water. It's maybe soft waters and maybe he could've gotten trapped and couldn't move. That was a goal with Wildlife & Fisheries, trying to see if he maybe he got trapped in an area that he couldn't move or get away from."

In the meantime, neighbors are hoping for the best. "It's a lot of swamp, crawfish fields, grassy and gravel roads. It's nowhere to go," a neighbor said. " It's just pitiful that he's lost. hopefully everything is okay."

Click here to read our previous story on Gunnels.