'I just want my dad home': Search for missing Saint John man continues

Saint John police, search and rescue crews and dozens of volunteers continued to search Tuesday for Peter Hoellwarth, 54, of Martinon, who went for a walk Sunday evening, and hasn't been seen since.

Police, ground search and rescue crews and volunteers scour city's west side for signs of Peter Hoellwarth

Peter Hoellwarth's daughter Emilee is asking anyone with information about his whereabouts to contact the family. (Facebook/Emilee Hoellwarth)

Less than two weeks ago, Emilee Hoellwarth offered comforting words to the family of a missing canoeist from Musquash.

"Thoughts going out to his family and friends," she posted on Facebook before the young man's body was discovered.

This week, Hoellwarth has turned to Facebook to ask for the public's help to locate her missing father, Peter Hoellwarth, 54, of Saint John.

He left their Martinon-area home on the city's west side Sunday around 10:30 p.m. to go for a walk and hasn't been seen since.

"If everyone who lives in the Grand Bay, Martinon and Belmont area could please search their yards, ditches sheds and wooded areas it would be so greatly appreciated. I️ just want my dad home!" she wrote.

"If anyone knows anything please reach out."

Armed with maps, walking sticks, bottles of water, sunscreen and bug spray, volunteers checked along roadways for any sign of Hoellwarth. (CBC)

Saint John police officers, Charlotte County Ground Search and Rescue crews and dozens of volunteers continued to search for the local businessman on Tuesday.

They walked along the maze of residential streets and scoured the woods and shorelines, then huddled together over maps to mark off the areas searched.

"As the crews come back in, we're double checking where they've been, making sure everything is covered and then we'll expand [the perimeter] again," volunteer Kim McCurdy said during a short break at the search command post outside the Martinon Community Centre.

Peter Hoellwarth has been missing since Sunday at around 10:30pm. 0:56

The fire department and Canadian Coast Guard also had rescue boats out, but as of early Tuesday evening, had not found any clues to explain Hoellwarth's disappearance.

Leigh and Kathy Gilmore, who are close friends with Hoellwarth, his wife Stephanie and their two daughters, said it's unusual behaviour for Hoellwarth and they're worried something has happened to him.

"This is a man who [is a] dedicated family man, professional man, very athletic — walks, runs," said Leigh Gilmore, who cut a business trip to Ontario short to participate in the search. "He knows this area inside and out and to not even come up with, not even a trace, a sign, nothing, doesn't make any sense at all."

"It's kind of hard being away knowing that this is going on. Everyone's pretty close and I know that if it was me, Peter would be there doing the same thing for me."

Shannon O'Keefe, who went to school with one of Hoellwarth's daughters, was also helping out, putting up missing posters and delivering flyers door-to-door.

"We're telling people to check ditches and bushes and stuff, sheds if they have any, trailers, down by the beaches, anything like that that he could be," she said.

"Stuff like this doesn't happen around here. … He's a member of the community, so obviously we want to see him home safe and we want to help out in any way we can."

Family friend Leigh Gilmore and his wife Kathy say Hoellwarth is 'very, very healthy' and often runs in the neighbourhood before going to the gym. (CBC)

Officials expect to continue to search until at least nightfall and then reassess.

Friends and neighbours say they'll keep looking for Hoellwarth until he's found.

Hoellwarth is described as being five feet seven inches tall and 160 pounds with greying, receding hair.

He was last seen wearing dark jeans, a black T-shirt and blue Nike sneakers.

Anyone with information regarding his whereabouts is urged to call Saint John police at 648-3333.

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