Search continues for missing sheriff's posse member

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

MARICOPA, Ariz. -- It's a race against time to find a missing Maricopa County Sheriff's posse member.

Deputies and volunteers are searching high and low in the desert Southwest of Phoenix for Samuel Grider. He hasn't been seen for weeks.

Those who know Grider say he gave his heart and soul as a member of the sheriff's civilian posse. He is also a man of great faith, according to a friend who says he knew something was wrong when he hadn't heard from Grider for a couple of weeks.

"I missed contact with him and it got to be concerning," said friend Jim Berson. Berson leads a Bible study group and says when Grider missed a couple of gatherings, he knew something was wrong and called police.

"They (deputies) went out to the house, said there was no one there, but they could hear dogs inside," he said. 

The unsual circumstance launched a massive search effort. Chopper 3 was above the rugged terrain after Grider's truck was found in a remote desert area west the Estrellas, just south of Buckeye, on Tuesday night. The vehicle showed signs of flooding in the engine but no sign of Grider.
   
The 71-year-old retired U.S. Army veteran has been a member of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Crime Prevention Posse for two decades.

Berson says his friend was in good health and recently had hip replacement surgery.

He says it was strange the vehicle was found in such a remote area.

Investigators are following up on every lead but so far haven't released information on anything solid.

On the ground, K-9 units, posse volunteers and deputies continue to scour the area as a fixed wing aircraft circles above.

As the search continues, Berson clings to his faith and remains optimistic.

"I think he was a great example to anyone he touched, and I hope everybody prays for him," Berson said. "I believe in miracles. I hope we'll see him again."

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