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Home  |  News  |  Wife says missing soldier was seen in Indiana

Wife says missing soldier was seen in Indiana
Friday, October 12, 2012

wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

CALHOUN COUNTY, SC (WIS) - The wife of a South Carolina soldier who disappeared from his home Saturday night says he has been spotted in Indiana.

Pamela Larson, the wife of Sgt. Robert Larson posted late Thursday night on the "Help Find Sgt. Robert Larson" Facebook page that he was seen in Gary, Indiana on October 9th. The post also included surveillance photos of a man Larson believes is her husband.

The local ground search has been put on hold while authorities investigate leads that Sgt. Larson may be out of state.

Calhoun County Sheriff Thomas Summers on Thursday afternoon said investigators have received tips and are working on leads that the 26-year-old isn't in South Carolina anymore. The sheriff wouldn't elaborate on what those leads are or where Larson might be.

Larson hasn't been seen since approximately 7 p.m. on Saturday. Pamela Larson says her husband left their Sandy Run home in his Jeep after working all day on the brakes.

She believes he may have left to blow off some steam after she was "nagging" him to help carry some boxes into the house.

He suffered a traumatic brain injury when the vehicle he was riding in hit an IED in Iraq during a deployment eight years ago.

Larson hasn't answered his phone or sent Pamela any text messages since he left. She says this long period of being out of contact is abnormal for her husband.

Larson was driving a Black 2009 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited with Smittybilt XRC front and rear fenders, and Smittybilt stickers on windshield and rear windows. It has South Carolina Purple Heart license plates. The tag number is PH5752.

Pamela was initially worried her husband may have gone off-road driving after dark on Saturday. "He thinks because he has a 4-wheel drive vehicle that he knows how to drive it in the woods," said Larson.

Wednesday the Calhoun County Sheriff's Department continued to search the dense woods around the home.

"We've utilized the helicopter and we've done a relatively good search on that but the canopy is real thick," said Calhoun County Sheriff Thomas Summers.

"We've gone through the woods the best that we can." said Sheriff Summers. "Our vehicles, our four wheel drive vehicles as far as we can go. So now what we're doing, we've just assembled a bunch of four wheelers, and we've got deputies on four wheelers, the little ATV's that can get in tighter areas."

The sheriff says investigators were able to track Sgt. Larson's cell phone long enough to get a general idea about his travel direction.

But the phone contact stopped and there have been no signs that Larson used an ATM or credit card since his disappearance, said Summers on Wednesday.

Robert has served three tours overseas. He spent time in Iraq in 2005 and again in 2009. He was also deployed to Afghanistan in 2010.

In 2005, Larson, a combat engineer, was traveling in an RG-31 military vehicle when it rolled over an improvised explosion device. The vehicle, according to Pamela, was blown in half.

After the explosion, he was transported via medical helicopter and treated for a concussion. However, Robert's brain injury was not discovered until 2009 when he returned home from his second deployment. Doctors also determined that Robert suffers from PTSD.

"It's like a slow-moving train wreck," said Pamela. "Some days he's great. Someday there's not a problem in the world. Some days you just want to run away but you can't."

The couple recently moved to the area from Germany and has two boys, aged 3 and 5.

Calhoun County Sheriff Thomas Summers said his office is working closely with Army CID, SLED, and surrounding agencies in an effort to help locate Larson. "We are very concerned about him at this point," said Summers. "This is not like him to not have contacted his family for this period of time."

Summers says helicopters and officers have searched the Sandy Run area. He wants people to get a look at Robert's car in hopes it may trigger a memory.

"Best case scenario, I just heard his wife say, maybe he's just blowing off steam," said Summers. "Maybe he needs some private time. Maybe he's hunkered down somewhere blowing off steam and he'll come home."

Summers said authorities have searched the area around the Larson home as well as any off-road sites Robert may have taken his Jeep.

If you know anything about Robert Larson's whereabouts, you are urged to call the Calhoun County Sheriff's Department at 803-874-2741.

Source: http://www.wistv.com/story/19773373/authorities-halt-local-search-believe-missing-soldier-may-be-out-of-state

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