UPDATE: Sheriff's office scales back search for missing McCloud mountain biker
Corrections & Clarifications: This story has been corrected to say some of the searchers from Marin County are under the age of 18 and in high school.
The Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office is scaling back its search for missing McCloud man Terry Knight.
Knight, a 66-year-old mountain biker, went missing June 22 after he failed to return home from cutting bike trails in the forest.
"Due to limited resources, the sheriff’s office is not able to facilitate an active search," sheriff's office spokeswoman Courtney Kreider said.
She said search-and-rescue teams were sent home Wednesday evening. However, Kreider said an ongoing missing person investigation will continue.
"Should more information develop, additional search efforts will be coordinated." she said.
The sheriff's office and volunteer searchers spent eight days combing the forest around McCloud. They got a break Saturday when they found Knight's bike, his helmet and clothing near Mud Creek northeast of the McCloud Mill, the sheriff's office said.
The clues prompted the Sheriff's Office to send additional crews to the area south-southeast of Mt. Shasta for a thorough grid search.
"A California Highway Patrol Northern Division helicopter flew overhead to try and locate him, surveying the creek bed as well as surrounding drainages. Unfortunately, Mr. Knight was not located," the sheriff's office said.
Kreider said the presence of Knight's belongings on the ground wasn't unusual. She said Knight and his mountain biking friends would typically bring tools and a change of clothes when they were out cutting trails.
"It's not strange for the investigation that those things were left on the ground because that's something they would routinely do," Kreider said.
Flyers have been distributed to local businesses and neighborhoods, and given to people in the community, deputies said.
"SCSO investigators have interviewed close friends, family, and acquaintances and so far, no meaningful leads have developed as to Mr. Knight’s whereabouts," the sheriff's office said.
The sheriff's office urges the public to report any new information about Knight. The public information line is (530) 598-9375.
Knight's mountain-biking buddies in McCloud aided the search effort daily, telling teams where they think he might've gone and where they've ridden in the past.
"The mountain bikers are all local so they know that area better than anyone else and we've covered the best ground that we can so far," she said.
Authorities say Knight has a heart condition and that he didn't take his cellphone with him, nor a GPS device. Knight's medical condition may have prevented him from returning to his bike, Kreider said.
Numerous groups joined the search effort. K-9 teams had their noses to the ground as helicopters searched from the air. A command post was established at McCloud High School.
"We've had at least 15 county search-and-rescue teams show up over the course of a week. We definitely rely on the volunteers for this kind of search," Kreider said.
Some of the searchers from Marin County are under the age of 18 and in high school.
The teams were from the California State Guard, Marin and Napa counties, two mountain bike teams in Butte County and six dog teams from the California Rescue Dog Association and Monterey Bay. Sheriff's offices from southern Oregon also helped out.
The huge search effort might lead one to wonder whether Knight is a local celebrity, but Kreider agreed he's a regular guy who's part of an experienced mountain biking group. He's also known in the fly-fishing community that comes to McCloud to fish.
"A very outdoorsy guy," is how Kreider described Knight.
"Every business that we've talked to in the community and people that have stopped by, they say they know Terry. He seems to be well-liked in the community and everyone is very concerned about him," Kreider said.
The sheriff's office thanked both McCloud High School for hosting the command post and local businesses "who helped feed the 50 to 70 search-and-rescue volunteers, daily, as teams dedicated long days and overnight searches."
Mike Chapman is an award-winning reporter and photographer for the Record Searchlight in Redding, Calif. His newspaper career spans Yreka and Eureka in Northern California and Bellingham, Wash. Support local journalism by subscribing today.