The search for a missing elderly Nova Scotia man has expanded – but there is still no sign of Martin McLearn, 89.
McLearn was last seen by his nephew Sunday around 11:30 a.m. at his home on Elliot Road in South Rawdon, about 45 minutes north of Halifax.
Police say when his nephew returned to check on McLearn a few hours later, he was nowhere to be found.
McLearn is described as 5’6″ and weighs approximately 150 to 160 pounds. He has white hair, blue eyes and wears glasses. McLearn may walk with a slight limp and was not operating a vehicle at the time of his disappearance.
It’s believed he was wearing rubber boots, dark work pants and possibly a tan overcoat and hat.
Police say they don’t believe McLearn’s disappearance is suspicious.
“Because of his age, his mobility, he had some hearing issues, he had some vision issues, possibly some dementia issues so all of those are put into consideration and the urgency,” said
Cpl. Mike Carter, RCMP.
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Dozens of volunteer search and rescue members from across the province are in South Rawdon scouring the area for any sign of McLearn.
“We have members from all over coming to this search. We have members from Musquodobit Valley straight down through to Lunenburg, North Queens, Digby even. So, we’ve expanded the search fairly fast,” said Evan Hansen, Planning Section Chief with East Hants Ground Search and Rescue.
Officials say they use historically-based search methods in cases like this, meaning they look at previous searches involving a missing person of the same age with the same disabilities.
The search for McLearn is focused on a 300 meter radius surrounding his home.
“We look at the statistics and we look at high probability areas and we search those areas first, progressively moving outwards, until we either find the person or we are able to come to a conclusion about what may have happened to him or we run out of options,” said Carter.
A Department of Natural Resources helicopter with a trained spotter inside is helping to assist searchers from the sky.
“We have close to 50 volunteers there today,” said Cpl. Dal Hutchinson, RCMP.
“They’re conducting a through search from the air and the land of the community in around the Elliot Road in South Rawdon. We are hoping for a positive outcome.”
Volunteers have had a number of obstacles to deal with so far in the search – including the heat, wildlife in the area and the terrain itself.
“This area of Nova Scotia is a lot similar to a lot of the other places where it’s really thick, dense, heavy brush so it’s very time consuming for our searchers to get through and very demanding and exhausted,” said Carter.
“The actual terrain is quite rough,” said Hansen. “We had had a few minor injuries, rolled ankles and such, which is typical of the terrain so hopefully we don’t have any more.”
Anyone with information about the disappearance of Martin McLearn is asked to contact police or Crime Stoppers.