Hummer found, but no sign of missing Vietnam vet Stan Norman | TheUnion.com

Hummer found, but no sign of missing Vietnam vet Stan Norman

Two extensive multi-agency searches were conducted Saturday and Tuesday for a missing Vietnam veteran after his vehicle was located in the Chalk Bluff area. But searchers found no sign of Stan Norman, or his toy apricot poodle KoKo. Authorities now are calling his disappearance "suspicious."

Norman was last seen April 15 and remains missing despite teams of volunteers scouring much of Nevada County into Placer County.

Norman had gone with friends to McGee's in Nevada City April 14 and was positively identified at Bonanza Market in Nevada City between 10:24 p.m. and 10:44 p.m. He then reportedly went to another friend's house in Grass Valley and spent the night. Those in attendance went to sleep some time around 4 a.m. Norman's cell phone pinged off several phone towers along the Highway 174 corridor later that morning, but no one has reported seeing him.

For more than two weeks, searchers had been stymied by the lack of clues, with Norman apparently having dropped off the face of the earth.

On Friday morning, his distinctive silver Hummer was spotted in the Chalk Bluff/Red Dog area.

The person who found the Hummer was not looking for Norman, said Nevada County Sheriff's Sgt. Bob Jakobs.

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"He came across it and thought it was odd," Jakobs said. A little later that morning, the man saw a missing persons flyer and realized it was the same vehicle, and contacted the sheriff's office.

A preliminary search was conducted Friday, and the California Department of Justice was called to process the vehicle in the event foul play is discovered.

On Saturday, more than 80 Search and Rescue members from Amador, Sacramento, El Dorado, Placer, Yuba and Nevada counties participated in search efforts in the area. A total of 14 dog teams, UTVs, motorcycles and plenty of ground-pounders scoured the area for clues, Sheriff's Lt. Rob Bringolf said in a release. The California Highway Patrol Air Operations Division also assisted with overflights.

On Tuesday, about 70 search and rescue team members from Marin, El Dorado and Placer counties, as well as the California Rescue Dog Association, were out in the area north of the location where the Hummer was found, along Red Dog Road up into the Cascade Shores area.

According to Jakobs, a team was dispatched to the area around You Bet Road and Greenhorn Creek after a dog resembling KoKo was spotted near a bridge. The dog was reported to be skittish and had taken off when approached, and was not found by searchers.

"At this point, no more searches are planned," Jakobs said.

No further clues were located and no leads were developed, Bringolf said in a release. Any future searches will be dictated by the information and leads received in the ongoing investigation. Anyone with information is encouraged to call the Nevada County Sheriff's Office Major Crimes Unit at 530-265-1263.

"Based on what our office has learned regarding the overall circumstances surrounding Stanley's disappearance, and after the two large-scale search efforts were completed without developing leads as to Stanley's location, the Nevada County Sheriff's Office is treating this case as suspicious in nature," Bringolf said.

Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at lizk@theunion.com.

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