Crews Scale Back Search For Missing Boater On Belews Lake

Search For Man On Belews Lake

STOKESDALE, N.C. -- Crews are scaling back search efforts for a man who went missing at Belews Lake.

Crews started searching for Walter Neumann, 72, when his boat washed up near the shore on Saturday.

But with no new leads and no idea when he was last on the boat, crews will go from searching all day to brief searches in the morning and evening.

Neumann lived alone, so it's not clear how long he's been missing. Neighbors say they saw him leave to go fishing on Thursday. 

Folks who know Neumann through his church aren't losing hope.

"Miracles can happen. The lost will always be found," said Pastor Jason Whitaker with Hillsdale Baptist Church in Advance, N.C. "He doesn't have an extended family, but he's our family."

He says Neumann loved fishing and was an active member in the church for more than 10 years.

"We had people praying just about every hour on the hour for him and we are going to keep the prayers going," Whitaker added. 

Members of the congregation are trying to help the search anyway they can.

"I'm the only one who has a boat so we decided to go out and help out," said Larkin Dupree, a church elder. "And behold like half the state was there searching for him so kudos to the officers and first responders."

Dupree says he's praying his friend returns home safely. But even if that's not the case, he just wants answers. 

"We'll either have a recovery and celebration (here), or a celebration in heaven," Dupree said.

 

Copyright 2017 WFMY


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