By Dave Maxwell
There has been no trace of a man from Moapa missing in the mountains of northeast Lincoln County.
Sheriff Kerry Lee reported after three days of extensive searching last weekend, “We found nothing. No evidence of him anywhere. No clothing, no wallet, no signs. His wife has had no word of him either.”
Charles Harper, 62, of Moapa has been missing since Sept. 24 after leaving home that evening following a dispute with his wife Bella. “He left to take a drive to cool down. He did that from time to time,” she told the Moapa Valley Progress newspaper in September. “But he never stayed away overnight before.”
Harper’s vehicle, a 2000 Ford F-250 pickup was found Nov. 4 by a Nevada Fish and Wildlife ranger north of Mt. Wilson in the Atlanta mine area of Lincoln County.
The ranger told Lee he had seen the vehicle in that location a couple of weeks earlier, but thought it might just be hunters. However, after seeing the same vehicle in the same spot sometime later, the ranger decided to investigate, found the vehicle unoccupied, but the keys still in the ignition. Running the plates, the ranger learned it was registered to Harper, listed as a missing person out of the Las Vegas jurisdiction. The ranger then called the Lincoln County Sheriff’s office.
Lee said by Nov. 5 a large search team had been assembled, using multiple agencies, personnel, search dogs and equipment, including a drone. “We greatly expanded the search area, it’s thick, steep, rugged terrain, but found nothing.”
Since that time Lee said, “We have compiled the maps together of where we have searched, where we may have missed, and are entering the data into a computer probability program the state has, and it will give a probability of a possible location. If we don’t find that we may have missed somewhere, we will just continue to let people hunting or hiking in the area for the next few weeks, to be on the lookout and hopefully they will find something. It’s becoming like a needle in a haystack.”
Lee said a number of other possibilities have been discussed, including Harper getting a ride with hunters leaving the area. However, no one has yet called to say they saw him and there has been no activity on his cell phone, debit cards or other accounts.