Intense search underway for missing Ontario man

Posted at 10:38 AM, May 04, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-04 19:21:24-04

Some sixty people from both Malheur County Search and Rescue and the Malheur County Sheriff’s Office are searching an area west of Ontario for a man who has been missing for two weeks.

Berry Howard was last seen April 19th walking along a road near the Snake River Correctional Institution. He was reportedly naked, but made no effort to conceal himself. He was accompanied by his 7-month-old pit bill.

The Sheriff’s Office conducted a search of the area shortly after friends reported him missing, but searchers did not find any clues to the man’s whereabouts.

On Monday, detectives found Howard’s dog near a microwave tower station on rural Halliday Road. “This is the first good lead we’ve had since (Howard) disappeared,” said Malheur County Sheriff Brian Wolfe. “The dog looked like it hadn’t eaten in several days. It’s now in the care of a local veterinarian.”

Aerials searches using both drones and a helicopter and ground searches by deputies and volunteers on horseback and on ATVs were conducted Monday, after detectives came upon the dog. “(The searchers) spent a good twelve hours out there,” Wolfe said.

Cadaver dogs were also used in the search, although officials say there is no indication Howard is deceased.

Searchers returned to the area Tuesday.

“We’re running a two-fold mission”, the Sheriff said. “One is a search and rescue effort; the other, is a criminal case investigation. We do not suspect foul play is involved -– but, at this point, we have not ruled it out, either,” he said.