MOGOLLON, N.M. (KRQE) - New Mexico Search and Rescue called off the search Saturday night for an elderly man who vanished trying to flee the floodwaters in Mogollon. His family, though, remains optimistic.
Arizona resident Howard Bassett, 83, was last seen one week ago leaving Mogollon just before intense flooding hit.
The small town was ravaged by floodwaters and nearly washed away last Sunday.
“Right now, there’s really a lack of evidence to what other avenues we could pursue or what other areas we could search or concentrate manpower to search,” said Sgt. Emmanuel Gutierrez with New Mexico State Police.
Bassett left the Silver Creek Inn on Saturday night, knowing there was a flash flood warning. The inn keeper called State Police on Monday saying he hadn't returned.
Bassett's truck was found Thursday submerged in mud.
“With all the gravel, silt, mud and water, there’s not going to be a whole lot for us to find in the vehicle,” Gutierrez said.
That lack of evidence or a lead is what is making the search nearly impossible.
News 13 spoke to Bassett's granddaughter, Katie Mead, on Wednesday. At that time, they hadn't heard anything from Bassett.
“It’s going straight to voicemail, so we are not sure if he ever turned the phone on or if the phone was dead,” Mead said.
On Saturday, the family said even though Search and Rescue has given up their search, they still have hope and plan to continue looking.
They were back home in Arizona Saturday night after spending some time in Mogollon.
Even though Search and Rescue says they wish they could remain positive, given the circumstances and how fast the water was flowing through the town, the outcome likely won't be the one Bassett's family is hoping for.
“Often times you see how these search and rescues end up resulting in finding a subject that didn't make it,” Gutierrez said.
The town of Mogollon received about 8 inches of rain during that flood. The two roads going in to town have been washed out.
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