Home Local News Search ends for missing Ellerbe man

Search ends for missing Ellerbe man

Mike Williams, center, of Pineland Search and Rescue, shows team leaders their search parameters on a map. The search for the missing man was called off Wednesday afternoon.
William R. Toler - Richmond Observer

ELLERBE — Investigators have called off a search for a man who has been missing since the end of last month.

Maj. Jay Childers of the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office to the RO around 5:30 that the search for 51-year-old Sol Vain Zivek had ended.

Zivek, who legally changed his name from Joseph Michael Blake, was last seen at his E. Main Street home on March 23 and the last communication from him was a text message on March 29, according to Childers.

Seven teams initially searched the area around his home and nearby ponds Wednesday morning.

Following a lunch break, Mike Williams of Pineland Search and Rescue directed those involved to complete a more efficient search.

“I want you to be able to see the ground between you and the next person,” he said. “Don’t get bunched up in one spot, don’t get too spread out.”

He split the searchers up in four teams to examine a 1,500 square meter area.

Williams, who recently helped lead a search and rescue training exercise at Millstone 4-H Camp, said a strange odor had been reported in the area several weeks before and one the morning teams had detected an odd smell.

He also said that many trees in the area had been damaged from storms Friday afternoon.

“He could be under so something, so be sure to look good,” he told them.

Childers said the search won’t resume “unless we develop any more information on a certain area.”

Zivek is 5 feet, 10 inches tall and weighs about 160 pounds. He does not have a vehicle, so would be walking or asking for a ride.

Anyone with information is encouraged to call the sheriff’s office at 910-895-3232 or 911.

This is the second major search by the sheriff’s office in the past three years.

Teams from more than 20 public and private agencies joined the effort to find Alvin Covington in March of 2016.


At that point, Covington had been missing for three months.

Detectives said Wednesday that, while the investigation continues, there has been no trace of Covington since he disappeared.


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Managing Editor William R. Toler is an award-winning writer and photographer with experience in print, television and online media.