UPDATE:Two hikers find the ATV of missing rider

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UPDATE on 3/16: The following is a press release from the Coconino County Sheriff's Office:

The red Bombardier ATV with AZ license DV4X that missing person Mark Russell Irby was last seen riding has been located. Two men from Snowflake AZ that were in the area of Chevelon Canyon Lake on a hunting and fishing trip found the ATV abandoned off of Forest Service Road 170 about 1 mile south-east of the lake late Saturday March 14, 2009. The location where the ATV was found is approximately 12 miles by road from Mr. Irby's home in Forest Lakes, AZ.

On Sunday March 15, 2009 11 deputies, officers, and volunteers from the Coconino County Sheriff's office, the Coconino County Sheriff's Search and Rescue Unit and the United States Forest Service Law Enforcement Division searched the area on foot and in vehicle beginning at the location where the ATV was found. On Monday March 16, 2009 10 deputies and volunteers continued the search. Intensive search efforts will continue during this week.

Based on information regarding Mr. Irby's past riding behavior, his plans for a short ride on the morning of his disappearance, and the existing weather and snow pack conditions the Chevelon Canyon Lake area was not included in the original search grid.

Mark Russell Irby was last seen at his home in Forest Lakes, AZ between 9 and 10 a.m. on Friday, January 2, 2009. According to family members it was Mr. Irby's intention to go on a short ATV ride on residential streets referred to as the "Loop" within the Forest Lakes subdivision. Upon Mr. Irby's return the family planned to leave Forest Lakes and return to their primary home in Chandler, Arizona. He was last seen wearing a denim shirt, blue jeans and "Croc" style plastic shoes and was certainly not prepared to hike in the existing deep snow pack nor was he prepared for an extended or overnight stay in the forested environment.

Prior to the location of Mr. Irby's ATV personnel representing a multitude of agencies have invested in excess of 1,800 hours of ground search time on foot, ATVs, conventional vehicles, snowmobiles, and on snowshoe. Eight hours of helicopter and 20 hours of fixed wing aircraft flight time have also been invested in this massive search effort.

Missing man's ATV found

UPDATE: Thursday, Jan. 29

FLAGSTAFF --A $5,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the recovery of Mark Russell Irby and his ATV.

Irby, who has served on Chandler's planning and zoning commission since 2002, was last seen when he left his home in the Forest Lakes area at about 10 a.m. on Jan. 2.

Irby was riding a red Bombardier ATV with Arizona license plate DV4X.

Irby is on prescribed medication for an existing medical condition and did not have it with him when he went out riding.

According to the Coconino County Sheriff's Office, ongoing efforts to locate Irby are limited but continuous.

Donations to the search effort can be made to The Jim Irby Search Fund at Wells Fargo Bank.

Anyone with information should contact the Coconino County Sheriff' Department at 1-800-338-7888 or 928-774-4523.

UPDATE: Tuesday, Jan. 6

FLAGSTAFF -- Search crews are expected to head back out at first light to try and find an ATV rider who has been missing since Friday.

Mark Russell Irby told his wife he was going for a quick ride on his quad Friday morning in the area northeast of Payson.

The area has since received about 10 inches of snow since then, and Irby was not dressed for the extreme weather.

Dozens of searchers from Coconino, Gila and Maricopa counties have been scouring the snowbound area of Forest Lakes in an effort to find Irby, but so far, they've come up empty.


FLAGSTAFF - Rescue teams are conducting a search for an ATV rider.

Mark Russell Irby, 51, was in the Forest Lakes area. He has been missing since Friday morning when he went out for a what was supposed to have been a quick ride. Family members expected him back within about an hour.

Maricopa County crews went out to assist searchers from Coconino County Sunday morning. They searched until late into the night and were expected to go back out Monday morning.

Irby is a white man, 5 feet 10 inches tall, weighing 175 pounds. He has brown hairs and brown eyes, and wear prescription glasses. He was last seen wearing a denim shirt, blue jeans and Croc-style shoes and socks. Irby was riding a red Bombardier ATV with the Arizona license plate DV4X.

Irby was not dressed for extreme weather or extended time away from home, said the Coconino County Sheriff's Office.

The snow level was down to 5,000 feet Sunday and there was quite a bit of snow in the area.