See notes on ways to support the Bazil family at the end of the article.
Trevor Bazil left his home in Panaca, Nevada, Friday, Aug. 14, excited to participate in his long-time passion of rock hunting in the hills just south of town. Bazil, a beloved art teacher, husband, father, and recognized member of the community, had made this trip many times before, sometimes staying out late into the night. However, when Bazil failed to return that night, his family mounted a search, eventually finding his vehicle deep within the hills near Miller Wash north of Panaca.
The next day saw a massive response from the entire community, with over 100 volunteers gathering outside of the Panaca Market and then moving on to the search area to scour it for signs of Bazil. This followed a call to the sheriff’s office, which suggested recruiting volunteers because so many of their search and rescue personnel were out of the area at the time, but soon Officer Charles Umina showed up at the scene to coordinate efforts.
They tracked Bazil seven miles throughout the surrounding area, eventually coming upon a bucket full of rocks that he had apparently collected, along with a towel. Despite this breakthrough, the first day ended without finding him, despite air and ground searches.
The next day’s search, Aug. 16, was a grid search around the area surrounding the bucket. More air support and ground support came in to help, with another huge volunteer force combing the area for clues. Bazil’s family took to the skies with drones to help the volunteers know where to go. Horses, ATVs, side-by-sides and dirt bikes were just some of the many means by which the search was conducted. By the end of that second day, the search dogs couldn’t hold onto Bazil’s scent, and it was determined that the area had been searched as much as possible.
Day three saw some of the most organized searching, with the Nevada Department of Forestry sending out crews to help with the investigation. This time, the search was conducted closer to Bazil’s vehicle in hopes that he had doubled back and had gotten lost while en route to his vehicle. Volunteers scoured the mountains and ditches in the area, but after more than 12 hours of searching and a few heat-related injuries, the final official day of searching was called to a close.
The searches have been conducted as the area has experienced near-record heat.
The efforts, which were organized by the Bazil family, family friend Shawn Frehner and assisted by local organizations, were hailed as being one of the largest responses ever seen in Lincoln County. Searching for Trevor Bazil, the Facebook page set up to help organize and inform the community about the efforts, is full of messages from well-wishers. Businesses from all over the county took part in the search, with additional support from Pahranagat Valley and free burritos provided by a local food truck.
People are still searching for Bazil. Frehner posted on her Facebook page that five cadaver dog teams are coming to search the area on Aug. 22 and 23. Community donations are providing food and lodging for the teams and local assistants are helping pack food and water for the dog handlers.
It is requested that individual searches be suspended on those days between 5:30 a.m. and noon so the dogs can be as productive as possible.
Bazil’s wife expressed her gratitude for those who had taken the time to search for her husband: “Love [you] all and I will never be able to thank [you] enough for the kindness that has been shown! I am literally in shock by [the] outpouring of love that we have had…I have been crying in gratitude for it all…I love [you] all!”
The family and many other members of the community are still hopeful.
“Eventually we’ll find him,” Frehner says. “I still have hope.”
The community will host a Barbecue Benefit Dinner for the Bazil family on Saturday, Aug. 22 at 5:30 p.m. It will be held at the Lincoln County High School football field at 1111 Edwards Street in Panaca. Adult plates will be $10 and kids plates will be $5. All proceeds will go to the Bazils.
Donations can also be made to “The Bazil Family Charitable Account” set up at the America First Credit Union.
There will also be a silent auction. Those wishing to participate can contact Lara Heiselbetz at (702) 419-5459 or Ann Croshaw at (407) 590-9668.