GARFIELD COUNTY, Utah (ABC4) — The search for 32-year-old Austin Madsen continues after he was reported missing Sunday, Jan. 29th.
Deputies redirected their search after receiving an investigative lead on Feb. 2 off Mount Dutton and towards the north end of Black Canyon towards Antimony, Utah, according to the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office.
Search and rescue teams have now started using horseback, foot and UTV along with aerial drones to search the area. The search had previously been more limited and involved air support to protect any possible tracks Madsen may have left behind.
By the fourth day of the search, officials used every possible lead, however, no signs of Madsen were found.
Garfield County said they plan to “transition search and rescue efforts from a dynamic and intensive search to a more passive approach” by focusing on monitoring Madsen’s phone, continuing Search and Rescue efforts and listing Madsen in a national database and an all-police bulletin to keep an eye out for Madsen during their routine operations.
While the department is shifting methods, it said that this change does not mean hope is lost.
“Austin is known to be in great physical shape and has considerable backcountry skills that he can use to survive,” said Garfield County Sheriff’s Office.
They also stated that it is their best hope that Madsen has possibly self-rescued himself from the cold temperatures and wind chills in the area and has yet to contact authorities or family members.
Air operations and assigned deputies will be suspended from actively searching in the Mount Dutton area as Garfield County says every resource has been exhausted in the efforts to find new leads.
Garfield County will continue to actively investigate any new information they come across.