Officials in Idaho scale back a search for a missing Maryland film-crew worker.
Officials in a remote Idaho county on Thursday scaled back the search for a Maryland man missing there for almost a week.
Terrence Woods Jr., 26, of Seat Pleasant, had been working with a British film crew on a documentary about abandoned gold mines in Idaho County, a mountainous 8,500-square-mile region in western Idaho.
The film crew reported Woods missing the evening of Oct. 5, and a search began the following day and continued through the week. Teams with dogs and search-and-rescue squads traversed the area on foot, and helicopter crews scoured the formidable terrain from the air. The efforts turned up nothing.
The Idaho County Sheriff ’s Office explained its decision to cut back the search in a news release, saying, “No leads were obtained from the previous seven days of searching, and no signs of Mr. Woods have been located in the search area or the expanded search area.”
Initial news reports said that members of the film crew had seen Woods acting strangely on the day he disappeared and that he abruptly jumped off a steep drop and sprinted away from the group as they gave chase.
“He went over to the edge and there were several people watching him, including one of the local guys, and he said he just decided to take off, and he shot down that hill,” Idaho County Sheriff Doug Giddings told KLEW-TV in Lewiston, Idaho.
But Woods’s family members dispute the account of how and why he went missing and say they still have many questions. Woods, a University of Maryland graduate who lived in London for several years before moving back to the area this year, was an experienced journalist who had traveled the world working on documentaries and television shows, his sister, Sharnia Tisdale, said in an interview. Woods also has two brothers.
“I wasn’t there, but from what I know of my brother, that would be really bizarre for him to run off like that. That’s just not him,” Tisdale said.
The missing man’s mother and father, Valerie and Terrence Woods, flew to Idaho this week to post fliers and meet with searchers, law enforcement and members of the film crew. Valerie Woods said she was told her son ran because he had a panic attack or an anxiety attack. She said her son has never had panic attacks and had no history of mental illness.
“For him to just run off in the middle of nowhere with no phone service and no one he knows out there is very, very odd,” she said. “It makes no sense.”
Woods said she met with Giddings, and when she asked if more could be done with the search, he told her, “What are you supposed to do for someone who does not want to be found?” That response angered Woods, who said the sheriff has no way of knowing whether that is true because he has information about her son only from the film company and not from his family.
In an interview Friday, Giddings said that he understood the family was upset but that he has had experience with many people who have gone missing over the years. He said that the search had been extensive and costly and that “we haven’t found hide nor hair of him.” Giddings would not speculate on why Woods ran off but said there were no signs of foul play.
Valerie Woods praised other law enforcement officers in the county and the local search and rescue teams and area residents who “have been working very hard to find my son.”
Raw, the British production company for which Terrence Woods worked, said in a statement that Woods is a “wellliked, valued member of the production team and we have been working closely with the Sheriff ’s Office which has been leading the search.”
For now, all Valerie Woods and her family can do is wait.
“This is all very hard for my family,” said Tisdale, Woods’s sister. “Right now, we’re just trying to be strong for our mother because this is so stressful for her to be going through this.”
Terrence Woods Jr. is from Seat Pleasant, Md.