Police plan to expand search this weekend in Hart County incident

Friday, June 18, 2004

A search to find a vanished Hart County man, described by Kentucky State Police as missing under suspicious circumstances, will expand this weekend to include agencies from throughout the Barren River region.

We will begin a large search today with about 50 or 60 people, hopefully, Hart County Sheriff Jeff Staples said.

Ronald Edward Baldwin, 54, of Buckner Hill North Road in Bonnieville, was last seen Saturday, officials said. A 12-year-old mentally disabled boy was riding four-wheelers with Baldwin in a wooded area on Baldwins 300-acre farm, according to Hart County Emergency Management Agency Director Steve Carver.

The child went to Baldwins home to fill up his four-wheelers near-empty gas tank, leaving Baldwin alone in the wooded area, Carver said. The boy was unable to find his way back.

Baldwins girlfriend called the sheriffs office to report him missing after he had not returned to their home by 9:30 Sunday evening, Carver said.

Most people will let you know within a few hours of people not coming back, he said. But this guy rode his four-wheeler a lot so it wasnt unusual for him to be gone long hours.

Baldwin is described by KSP as a 5-foot-8-inch white male, 232 pounds, with shoulder-length white hair, a beard and brown eyes. He was wearing blue bib overalls, a straw hat and tennis shoes.

Crews from the sheriffs department, Emergency Management Agency and rescue squad immediately began looking for Baldwin in a search that lasted until 1 a.m. Monday. Searchers picked up the effort again from 2:30 p.m. Monday until after dark and spent more than 12 hours searching on Tuesday.

State police were called in Wednesday and searchers hope to gather even more manpower this weekend.

We are going to search every inch of that property, Carver said, adding that the search will also cover a neighboring farm of about 600 acres.

The rough terrain creates challenging search territory, Carver said.

We had a lot of underbrush and thorns and we searched four caves, he said.

So far, the only signs of Baldwins disappearance are the abandoned four-wheeler which a neighbor found in the woods alongside Baldwins tennis shoes and eyeglasses that he has to wear (to see), Carver said.

Searchers also found an abandoned, unfinished bottle of Early Times whiskey near the four-wheeler, which Carver said anyone who knows Baldwin would think unusual.

Hes not one to leave his alcohol lying around, he said.

Carver said it is highly unusual that the multi-agency, hours-long search has thus far been unfruitful.

Anyone with information about Baldwins possible whereabouts should call KSP at 782-2010 or Hart County Sheriffs Department at (270) 524-2341.  Daily News ·813 College St. ·PO Box 90012 ·Bowling Green, KY ·42102 ·270-781-1700 

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