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November 16, 2012
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Update: Missing airman found dead near Beale Air Force Base

A 41-year-old airman last seen at Beale Air Force Base Tuesday was found Friday dead of injuries sustained in a single-vehicle traffic accident, said a law enforcement official.

Ayaz “Neil” Ali, stationed with the U.S. Air Force in Georgia but visiting Northern California, was first reported as missing Thursday night but had not been seen since Tuesday evening after he left Beale Air Force Base, west of Nevada County, said Nevada County Sheriff’s Office Captain Jeff Powell.

A search and rescue mission that had been under way Friday was called off at about 4 p.m., and a coroner’s investigation will commence, Powell said.

Ali’s car, a maroon four-door Toyota Camry, was located at the intersection of Wild Turkey Lane and Highway 20 by Caltrans workers, Powell said.

“It was close to the parameters we were searching after we got a cell phone ping (from Ali’s cellular device),” Powell said.

NCSO Sgt. Sam Brown said late Friday that an early assessment by his office of Ali’s wounds being “self-inflicted” was incorrect. Ali’s cause of death was related to injuries suffered in a single-vehicle accident, Brown said, adding, “There was nothing to show the wounds were self-inflicted.”

Law enforcement will conduct toxicology tests to determine whether drugs and alcohol were factors in the accident, Brown said.

The car was found around 3:30 p.m. Friday.

About 20 Nevada County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue workers spent Friday afternoon canvassing a 1,200-meter circumference in the Mooney Flat/Highway 20 area along the Nevada County and Yuba County border, Powell said.

Bill Netherby, a Search and Rescue coordinator with NCSO, said the agency was conducting “a needle in the haystack” search, using a ping they received from Ali’s cell phone to hone in on the area.

Netherby said there were reports of relationship issues behind Ali’s disappearance, and the man has not been in contact with his family back in Georgia.

To contact Staff Writer Matthew Renda, email mrenda@theunion.com or call (530) 477-4239.


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The Union Updated Nov 18, 2012 11:41AM Published Nov 21, 2012 08:27AM Copyright 2012 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.