TAZEWELL COUNTY, Va. - Crews were back out in a wooded area of Tazewell County Monday looking for a missing hunter.
Search groups continue looking through wooded areas around 41-year-old Eric Smith's home trying to find some answers. "Eric is an excellent person and we'll do whatever it takes to find him," says Danny Quesenberry, who is Smith's co-worker.
Quesenberry is Smith's co-worker at the Buchanan Mine. He tells us Smith was last seen Friday around 10 a.m. when he left his home to go hunting on his land. "It was a passion with him. Hunting and his family are his two passions," adds Quesenberry.
Cedar Bluff Police Chief David Mills tells us Smith's wife reported him missing Friday night. "The thinking was that he had a deer down maybe late and was going to be dragging it in, so that's why the call came in around 8:00. When he didn't return she was concerned," says Mills.
There were several groups of volunteers out searching all throughout the day using dogs and a helicopter for thermal imaging to locate Mr. Smith. "He has a lot of land up there which he has been hunting on, about 40 acres. We've expanded past that of course," says Chief Mills.
Mills tells us they've searched the areas where Smith has tree stands and deer scouting cameras with no luck. Mills says now they are treating it as if something happened to Smith while he was hunting like a medical emergency. "What we were told is that he had flu symptoms and maybe even pneumonia-type symptoms, he was not feeling good at the time," adds Mills.
Meanwhile, Smith's co-workers tell us they will not stop searching until they find him. "When you know someone and you work with someone every day, you become just like a family and you would do anything for your family. He's a part of our family," says Quesenberry.
If you have information you're asked to contact the Cedar Bluff Police Department at (276) 963-3975.
Mills has a few recommendations for anyone who goes hunting. He says to always take a cell phoneand a flashlight so at night you can signal for help if you're unable to move. He says to pack extra food, water, and an emergency blanket just in case something happens.
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