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Lansford man, subject of an intense search, found safe walking area road

  • Emergency responders look over topography imagery of Lansford's mountains on a laptop in the back of the Carbon County EMA Command Unit.
    Emergency responders look over topography imagery of Lansford's mountains on a laptop in the back of the Carbon County EMA Command Unit.
Published July 02. 2012 05:03PM

A missing Lansford man, the subject of an intense 12-hour search Friday and Saturday, was found walking along Route 54 and is safe.

Rescuers and search crews used all terrain vehicles, pickup trucks and a state police helicopter to search for Terry Silfies, 43, before he was located about three miles northwest of his home just after 3:15 a.m. on Saturday.

Family members said he routinely goes on walks in the mountains or along the railroad tracks as a stress reliever. They added that he takes medication regularly to deal with schizophrenia, a mental disorder that makes it hard to tell the difference between what is real and not real.

On Friday, family members became worried when his dog, "Tank," a 2-year-old male German Shepherd and Husky mix, arrived back home around 7 p.m. without him. The dog was wet and covered in coal dust. After calling police, many family members took to the mountains themselves in search of Silfies.

"We traveled over 2 miles through the woods looking for him," said stepdaughter Alicia Reph. "We didn't recall seeing him take water with him. That is what worried us. We think Terry unlatched Tank's leash to get help."

Family members added that he never went missing before.

Terry, who lives with his wife, Victoria Smestad, on Snyder Avenue, is a veteran and reportedly passed out after returning from a long walk about two weeks ago.

Carbon County's Emergency Management Agency's (EMA) Command Unit responded to help in the coordination and search efforts. They set up at the intersection of Oak Street and Edgemont Road in Lansford. Also responding were Lansford Police, Summit Hill Police, state police, firefighters and search teams from Lansford, Summit Hill, fire police, Lehighton Ambulance, Lansford Ambulance, Anthracite Protective Services and East Penn Search and Rescue (Monroe County).

Lansford Police also spent time searching area homes and businesses for the missing man.

"Over 30 people were involved in the search operation," said Mark Nalesnik, director of Carbon EMA. "We chose to put the search on hold at around midnight, as to not jeopardize the safety of all the responders."

Jack Soberick, local EMA coordinator, said it was dangerous for search teams due to the heat, humidity, as well as the number of hidden mine holes.

Search teams had planned on resuming the search around 6:30 Saturday morning before Silfies was found.

"There was a great response of volunteers and community," said Joe Cannon, incident commander.

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