Julian Sands: High-ground efforts delayed as search for missing actor nears end of second week

Authorities have said that fresh searches on higher ground for missing actor Julian Sands are still not possible due to poor conditions.

An update shared by San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department on Tuesday (24 January) said “numerous” ground and air searches had previously taken place in lower areas, but no evidence of the actor’s location had been found.

Sands was first reported missing on 13 January in the Baldy Bowl area of the San Gabriel mountains in southern California.

It comes as the department announced that a second hiker who had gone missing in the same area was found alive.

But a spokesperson for the department told the PA news agency that although the ground searches for the second hiker had provided an opportunity for secondary sweeps, Sands had still not been located.

They added that further ground searches in areas of higher elevation were still not possible due to the conditions.

“The Sheriff’s Department is closing in on the second full week of the search for missing hiker, Julian Sands,” the online statement read.

“Numerous ground and air search efforts have taken place. As of this time, Mr Sands has not been found and no evidence of his current location has been discovered. The search will continue, weather and ground conditions permitting.”

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The statement added: “Regardless of precautions taken by hikers, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department highly recommends hikers avoid hazardous mountainous areas, such as Mt Baldy, at this time.”

It comes after Sands’ family praised the “heroic” efforts of Californian authorities conducting the search efforts.

In a statement, also shared by the sheriff’s department, his family said they were “deeply touched” by the support they had received in the days since his disappearance.

“Our heartfelt thanks to the compassionate members of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department who are coordinating the search for our beloved Julian, not least the heroic search teams listed below who are braving difficult conditions on the ground and in the air to bring Julian home,” the statement read.

Sands was reported missing earlier in January (REUTERS)
Sands was reported missing earlier in January (REUTERS)

“We are deeply touched by the outpouring of love and support.”

The statement went on to list various organisations involved in the search, which included local and out-of-county forces, as well as specialised canine and cave teams.

On Monday (23 January), a spokesperson for the sheriff’s department told the PA news agency that conditions were still too dangerous for ground crews to operate, and that searches would be conducted by helicopter only.

They said that, while infrared devices have been used, there was no sign of Sands. Federal agencies are now part of the efforts to find Sands, using mobile phone forensics to help pinpoint the actor’s location.

It was previously revealed that pings from Sands’ phone appeared to show he had been on the move heading further into the mountainous area of Baldy Bowl on the day he was reported missing.

Additional reporting by Press Association