Of­fi­cials in Idaho scale back a search for a miss­ing Mary­land film-crew worker.

The Washington Post - - METRO - BY JOE HEIM

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.

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