Police on Monday called a halt to their sea and land searches for missing man Nathan Clarke after more than two weeks of fruitless efforts.
Royal Cayman Islands Police Service Chief Inspector Richard Barrow, who has been overseeing the search operation, said: “We have completely exhausted the search areas at land and at sea, but unfortunately we have not been able to find Nathan.”
Mr. Clarke was last seen on Saturday evening, 25 February, at the waterfront near Calico Jack’s on Seven Mile Beach in Grand Cayman.
Despite extensive land and marine searches, the only sign of the missing man was his Samsung mobile phone, which was found four days after he disappeared in 10 feet of water, about 150 feet from the shore at Public Beach.
That discovery led police to concentrate their efforts on the water, with private dive boats, snorkellers, divers and search and recovery dogs joining the search.
“I would like to thank all of the volunteers who came out day after day and tirelessly assisted our officers during the searches,” Mr. Barrow said. “I know that Nathan’s parents, his brother and sister, his fiancée Lisa and her parents are also very grateful to all those who have helped and shown support during this difficult time.”
Police were alerted to Mr. Clarke’s disappearance on Sunday, 26 February. Since then, hundreds of volunteers and dozens of police officers have carried out land and sea searches for the 31-year-old Cayman Prep teaching assistant, clocking up tens of thousands of man hours, authorities said.
Police search and recovery dogs from Florida joined the sea search for the missing man last week, with two from Miami-Dade’s K-9 Unit, along with their handlers, arriving in Grand Cayman on Wednesday.
Air searches for the missing man had also been organised, with friends and family hiring a private helicopter to sweep land and sea areas while the police helicopter was off island undergoing maintenance.
Examinations of CCTV footage from the night of Mr. Clarke’s disappearance showed no indication that he had left the beach for the roadside.
Despite the search being called off, police on Monday said the investigation into Mr. Clarke’s disappearance will continue and is “still very active”.
Police appealed to people to “remain vigilant and to report immediately any information that may assist police with their enquiries”.
Mr. Clarke is the third person to disappear in Cayman in the last 14 months. Caymanian Anna Evans, aged 37 – a Department of Environmental Health worker – was last seen at the George Town landfill on 27 January. Six months later, on 30 July, 25-year-old Jamaican nurse Kerran Baker disappeared from her home in Bodden Town. Her car was later found at Pedro St. James.
Ms Evans’ disappearance is still classified by police as a missing persons case, while Ms Baker’s disappearance has since been reclassified as a murder.
Police have said there is no evidence to link any of the three disappearances.