Search continues for missing Virginia man
On Tuesday, West Virginia State Police search and rescue teams resumed a search for a missing Virginia man in the Cranberry Wilderness.
Michael Camilletti, age 56, of Stanardsville, Virginia, is believed to have entered the Cranberry Wilderness on May 23. He was reported missing by his brother, Mark Camilletti, on June 12.
The missing man is a retired Army Special Forces colonel and an avid outdoorsman. Family members told police told it is not unusual for Camilletti to depart without notice on extended hiking trips. The retired colonel is divorced with two children.
On June 27, State Police Trooper Mark Agee ran a license check on a vehicle parked along Williams River Road and discovered that the vehicle belonged to Camellitti, who had been reported missing. The trooper searched the vehicle and discovered a note, apparently written by the missing man. The note stated that Camilletti planned to hike along the North-South Trail, starting on May 23, and exit the wilderness four days later on May 27.
Search teams from the State Police and Pocahontas County Search and Rescue (SAR) arrived the following morning, June 28, and searched along North-South Trail and other wilderness trails. On June 29, a cadaver dog team from the West Virginia Department of Homeland Security SAR arrived to assist with the search.
On Tuesday, 10 two-person teams searched for Camilletti in the expansive wilderness. On Wednesday, six teams and the cadaver dog team continued the search. The cadaver dog handler was injured in a fall during Wednesday's search.
Search operations were suspended on Friday but State Police SAR teams re-entered the wilderness on Tuesday. An emergency official said the police might have received more information on the missing hiker's destination.
State Police Sergeant Glenn Galloway said the terrain in the search area was extremely difficult and that visibility in the thick vegetation was extremely limited. The trooper recalled that a small plane crashed in the Cranberry Wilderness some years ago and that large pieces of crash debris were not discovered until 10 years later.
According to National Transportation Safety Board records, no human remains were ever recovered from a November 28, 1995 crash of a Cessna 414, number N28901.
Mark Camilletti had little comment, but expressed thanks to the searchers.
"All I can say is that we're really heart broken by the whole thing," he said.
The Cranberry Wilderness is a 47,815 acre preserve in the rugged Yew Mountains, with elevations ranging from 2,400 feet to 4,456 feet. It is the largest Forest Service wilderness area east of the Mississippi River.
Anyone with information on the missing man's whereabouts is asked to call the West Virginia State Police Marlinton Detachment at 304-799-4101