TUNICA, MS - Still no sign of George Nicholson, the 82-year-old Fayette County man who's been missing for three weeks. His truck was found in Tunica late Wednesday, July 20, 2011, in the woods near the cut-off. The keys were in the ignition and the windows rolled down, but no trace of Nicholson.
Dozens of officers have been looking for him, but they think the truck has been in the woods for a while and time is not on their side.
"I saw it on my way out," says Gene Bonee, the first to spot Nicholson's truck. "I didn't pay very much mind to it, but I got on down the road and I said that's the truck that's been on the news."
Bonee called investigators, who then notified Nicholson's family. They've been waiting for word since George disappeared on his way to the Horseshoe Casino on June 29th.
"From where it was at, I figure he saw the water, went to turn around and got his truck stuck," Bonee tells abc24.com.
The truck was found at Hardin Point, an isolated wooded area in Tunica directly inside the levee.
"My speculation, the only reason anyone would be traveling that area was if you knew exactly where you were going," says Louise Linzy, an investigator with the Tunica County Sheriff's office.
Nicholson didn't. Authorities aren't sure how long it was parked there, but weeds and grass had started growing around it.
"I didn't see fresh tracks or anything around it," adds Bonee.
All day Thursday, the only people allowed into the area were police, a lot of them.
"We have four wheelers, K9s, everything in this search and rescue effort," says Linzy.
Hampering their search efforts, is the time Nicholson's been missing, the heat and the huge area they have to cover.
"It's big. I'm going to say ten thousand acres at least," says Bonee.
Investigators called off the search at 3:00 p.m. Thursday because of the heat. They still don't know if Nicholson parked the car there himself, or if someone else drove it there.
"At this point we're not suspecting foul play," says Linzy. "We're just trying to do a complete and thorough investigation."
"If we find him and his billfold is intact and his money is in there, then probably it's not foul play," says George Nicholson's son. "The main thing I'm hoping is he did this on his own. Nobody did anything to him."
The 82-year-old was in the early stages of dementia. His son says he was carrying a lot of cash and may have become confused, thinking he was going to a casino near the cut-off that closed ten years ago.
Bonee's hoping Nicholson's family will get another phone call soon, one with the answer to where he is. The sheriff's office is asking anyone with information to call them.
Nicholson's truck has been taken to the state crime lab.