Search Ends For Missing Fairfield Co. Man, No Future Searches Planned


A man was still missing Friday afternoon after dozens of people combed the land behind his Fairfield County home on Eckert Road.

Mark Johnson, 49, has been missing since Monday, when his home was destroyed in a fire, 10TV's Danielle Elias reported.

The Fairfield County Sheriff's Office said that no additional searches were scheduled, but Sheriff Dave Phalen said that the investigation was ongoing.

The Friday morning search covered 60 acres of land adjacent to Johnson's property, where no clues to Johnson’s disappearance was found, Elias reported.

Dennis Gierhart, long-time neighbor and friend of Johnson, offered an emotional plea to the man he said he has known for 40 years.  “If you’re out there, let somebody know that you’re okay,” Gierhart said. “That’s all we want to know.”

Cathy Gierhart said Johnson’s disappearance has taken its toll.

“It’s unreal. It’s kind of disheartening and I know his family, his mother and his daughters,” Cathy Gierhart said. “They’re just beside themselves. It’s really hard for them to deal with this.”

Gierhart said Johnson’s family still holds onto hope that he will be found.

Sheriff Phalen said this week, he believed the fire was intentionally started, but an official cause of the fire has not yet been released.

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