Authorities have scaled back their search for a hiker who went missing more than a week ago in Arkansas but have not called off their efforts completely, according to a state parks official.
Tim Scott, assistant park superintendent at Devil’s Den State Park, said Wednesday that no new clues have been offered in the disappearance of 33-year-old Rodney Letterman of Bartlesville, Okla.
Letterman went missing during the afternoon of Aug. 27 while hiking with someone else on the state park’s strenuous Butterfield Trail in West Fork, which is about 28 miles south of Fayetteville.
About 1 mile from their vehicle, Letterman became fatigued and required medication, prompting the second hiker to retrieve the needed items. When he returned, Letterman was nowhere to be found.
Scott said the hiker’s disappearance is not being considered a recovery mission at this point.
“Until we find evidence that leads to that, we’re still looking for him [alive],” Scott said.
Periodic searches are still ongoing throughout the park, and flyers have been posted to trail billboards in the hopes that passers-by might have leads. About 4,000 acres had been canvased as of Wednesday, the assistant park superintendent said.
Nearly 5,000 park visitors utilized the outdoor destination’s thousands of acres over the Labor Day weekend, though none reported any findings, Scott said.
Another search Tuesday with two horse teams yielded no new information. No one had canvassed the area as of Wednesday afternoon.
Search crews thus far have located Letterman’s cellphone, a flashlight and charger cord. The missing hiker reportedly also had 1.5 liters of water in his possession.
Agencies from several counties have been involved in the search, including the Washington County sheriff's office and Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. Crews have used ATVs and horses as well as drones and tracking dogs in search of Letterman's whereabouts.
The Devil’s Den State Park website lists the Butterfield Trail as a 15-mile trail for walking, horseback riding and biking that features “rock formations and mountainous outcroppings.”