UPDATE: September 5, 2022 5:11 p.m.
PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — The Bay County Sheriff’s Office has identified the missing hiker as 57-year-old Peter Tony Berecz from Panama City.
Sheriff Tommy Ford said he would like to thank the many volunteers that have helped BCSO in this search.
Officials said there has also been an outpouring of desire to help from the community. BCSO said while the desire to help is admirable, they are asking the general public to not enter the search area.
Anyone with information is encouraged to call BCSO at 850-747-4700.
Our previous version of the story is below.
“We’ve used every tool that we’ve got at the sheriff’s office to try to find this young man,” Bay County Sheriff’s Office Sergeant Jim Jenkins said.
On Monday morning drones, horses, K-9’s and a helicopter searched for the man. Jenkins said the hiker is around 40 years old.
“Right now we’re still hoping that he’ll come walking out of the woods,” Jenkins said.
Jenkins said the Panama City resident walked out of his home Saturday morning. Deputies spoke with the hiker on the phone Saturday morning, but they believe his phone battery has died since that call.
He said the man didn’t know which direction he was walking.
“He walked out of his residence and walked into the woods,” Jenkins said. “Don’t know which woods he walked into. Don’t know if it was north, south, east or west. We don’t know what he was wearing. We just know he left somewhere around five o’clock in the morning.”
Community members are also looking for the man on four-wheelers.
“We have the community coming out and trying to help,” Jenkins said. “They’re trying to get him safe and sound.”