Avondale Man Missing; Van Found East Of Payson

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A Valley man is missing, and the Gila County Sheriff’s Department search and rescue team has joined the Coconino County Sheriff’s Department and a Department of Public Safety helicopter search crew in order to find him.

Robert Pico, 23, of Avondale, was reported to be a “missing and endangered individual” by relatives Saturday, Nov. 9, according to Chief Deputy Bill Pribil of the Coconino County Sheriff’s Department.

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Robert Pico

“Today (Monday) ... someone, having seen something about the case on TV or the radio, advised our Forest Lakes officer that Mr. Pico’s 1992 conversion van was at milepost 282 on Highway 260” near Woods Canyon Lake, Pribil said. “We sent an officer to the scene and confirmed that it was Mr. Pico’s vehicle.”

The Forest Lakes officer acquired members of Forest Service law enforcement and a number of volunteers to begin “a hasty search,” Pribil said. “We contacted the Gila County Sheriff’s Office and asked them if there was a chance that the subject had entered their county, so they’re working on this with their search and rescue people also.”

The Department of Public Safety also contributed a helicopter to the search effort.

“We have requested that they fly along the Rim around where the vehicle was located to see if we can find any signs of Mr. Pico,” Pribil said.

The Gila County Sheriff’s Department search and rescue effort is being coordinated by Lt. Adam Shepherd of the department’s Payson office, Det. George Ratliff said.

“Because the location where the van was found is close to our area, we’re involved in the search,” Ratliff said.

According to information provided by officials, the missing man is 6 feet, 2 inches tall with brown eyes and hair.

Anyone with information which might lead to his location should call the Gila County Sheriff’s Department at (928) 474-2208.

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