MILLSTON, Wis. (WKBT) - A routine traffic stop in Jackson County turned into a missing persons case that's been open for more than two years.
Saturday friends and family of Gene Cloud Jr., 22, searched for answers.
Cloud ran away from his vehicle when he saw a Jackson County deputy back in 2012. He has not been seen or heard from since.
Saturday about 50 volunteers came together to help search the Black River State Forest for Cloud.
"It's been hard," Morgan White Eagle, elder member of the Ho-Chunk Nation, said.
White Eagle said over the past 2 1/2 years that Cloud has been missing a lot of prayers have been said for his family.
"We're not giving up hope. We still have some questions that are unanswered," Jackson County Patrol Sgt. Evan Mazur said.
Cloud was last seen walking along Highway O in Millston more than two years ago.
Mazur said because Cloud has been missing for so long leads and clues have been hard to come by.
"We'll be particularly looking for clothing, backpack, anything that shouldn't be in the woods we'll be looking for," Sherri Jo Lucas, incident coordinator from Rapid Search and Rescue, said.
Lucas is the commander of the entire operation. Her team was contacted by the Ho-Chunk Nation and the Jackson County Sheriff's Department to assist with the search.
"We let out the K-9s first because they want a clean scent, then we'll send our horses out," Lucas said.
"We offer a different facet than most search and rescue groups do because of the horses height we're able to see more into the woods and off trails than somebody on an ATV or even a truck can," Summer Olson, president of the Valley Mountain Volunteers, said.
"And then we'll put our boots on the round out," Lucas said.
No matter what is or isn't found Saturday, White Eagle said the search will answer at least one question.
"Either way it's going to ease the mind to know that he ain't out there or he is out there," he said.
About 40 people walked through the Black River Forest on the search. They were out for about four hours, but there is no official word on whether anything found leads authorities any closer to finding Cloud.
Community members and police crews will head out again Sunday to continue the search.
Authorities ask if you have any information related to Cloud to please contact the Jackson County sheriff at 715-284-5357 or the Ho-Chunk Nation Police Department.
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