Kentucky State Police Post 9 said Wayne Tessmer of 6887 North Mayo Trail reported his son, Joshua Jerome Tessmer, missing, saying the 5-foot, 11-inch tall young man was last seen on Jan. 8 around 4:15 p.m. at their residence in the Greenview area. Wayne Tessmer works at the Green Meadows Country Club at Coal Run. The country club’s river bank area has become the site of a command post for Pike County Department of Emergency Management as they coordinate search efforts.
Rescue officials feared Tessmer fell into the river after finding his hat on the banks of the Levisa Fork behind the Tessmer residence.
Called out to assist at the scene of the missing teen Friday morning, Millard East Shelbiana Volunteer Fire and Rescue Chief Glen Adkins, who has been searching bodies of water for missing persons and evidence in four states since 1982, said the there were signs in the area where someone had obviously went into the water. However, there were none to show where someone had come out.
“We’re pretty well positive he’s in the water,” said Adkins, who went to get his boat immediately Friday mr. “We haven’t found him yet. The water is too high.”
Pike County volunteer fire and rescue departments from Millard, Coal Run, Johns Creek, and Pikeville have worked at combing the river banks, searching debris from flooding water, while others dragged the river the best they could on Friday, Adkins said, adding the water is too high and cold to dive. They were joined over the weekend by crews from Floyd County Rescue Squad and Johnson County Fire and Emergency officials.
Since most of the men are from volunteer fire departments and have regular jobs, they can’t assist as much during the weekdays, but three crews remained on the water and riverbank on Monday, said Pike Emergency Management Director Doug Tackett, who has been on the scene everyday battling freezing temperatures.
“It’s been really cold, but the worst is yet to come,” Tackett said about temperatures which are expected to dip into the low 20s on Thursday and Friday.
“We’re going to be on the river Tuesday and Wednesday, as long as the weather will allow,” Tackett said last night, adding the crews plan on taking a break from the search later in the week to enable the Corps of Engineers to free the water held at Fish Trap and Flanagan Dam since Friday.
Although the water doesn’t have to be released at the present, Tackett said it would help lower the water when crews returned to the search this weekend in warmer temperatures.
“We will have to suspend the search for a couple of days ... it’s too cold,” Tackett said.. “You just can’t stand it.”
When crews do return to the search this weekend, they will have some additional manpower from other county rescue teams, as well as K9 units from the Kentucky Search Dog Association, which is coming on Saturday, Tackett said.
“If everything goes the way its supposed to, with the river down, getting as many hands as we can on the river, and the dogs, hopefully we can bring this to a close,” Tackett said.
Meanwhile, Post 9 officials are requesting people living along the Levisa Fork of the Big Sandy River to contact Post 9 if they observe any evidence that may indicate Joshua Tessmer’s whereabouts.
He has blond hair cut above his ears and blue eyes, and has a fair complexion and a tattoo of a cross on the back of his left shoulder, Post 9 reported.
He is believed to be wearing blue jeans, blue Nike tennis shoes and a dark Carhartt jacket, the release stated, adding his father didn’t believe he took any additional clothing with him.
Police also believe alcohol may be involved, and foul play is not suspected at this time.
Although upset, the Tessmer family has been out at the scene everyday, Adkins said, “They’re waiting for anything from crews.”
“When we’re out there working, they’re right there with us,” Tackett said.
Director Doug Tackett said emergency management has created a makeshift tent for the Tessmer family, using a tarp to block wind and a propane tank for heat. The Big Sandy Red Cross has provided hot food and beverages for the family as well as emergency officials as they come in to rest in between searches.
The hot nourishment helps the men keep going, Tackett said,