A long line wound its way along Edwards Street in Panaca Aug. 22. It stretched from the school district offices to the Lincoln County High School football field and ended at the concession stand. There, hundreds of people paid for a meal of pulled pork and other trappings, but many chose to just donate money instead. All this was done to help support the grieving Bazil family.
Trevor Bazil has been missing for two weeks now. He left his home Aug. 14 to search for rocks in the mountains near Panaca. Since then, multiple search parties have been formed to try and find some clues as to his whereabouts, with few answers as to how he vanished. Law enforcement officials have stated that Bazil could have, in a wounded or delirious state, wandered as far as eight to ten miles from his original location, and while the searches have been organized and thorough, the area they’re covering is so vast and thick with foliage that even the airplanes involved in the search had trouble finding anything.
Some have theorized that a mountain lion could be involved in Bazil’s disappearance, but law enforcement sources say there’s very little proof backing this theory.
Following the benefit dinner, five separate teams of search dogs were deployed on Aug. 22 and Aug. 23, courtesy of Rocky Mountain Search and Rescue Dogs out of the Salt Lake area. Canines had been used in the search area before that point, but they were hunting dogs, not dedicated search and rescue. Despite the hard work put in by these teams, nothing more was found, and they were forced to call off their search Aug. 23. Some in the community have speculated that the vast volunteer force searching the mountains had the accidental effect of adding too many scents to the area, possibly confusing the dogs.
However, Sheriff Kerry Lee, who worked with the teams and has been a part of the search efforts since the beginning, says the main reason the dogs had trouble in the area was the heat. Lee says the dogs could only be used until around 10 a.m., and by that time the temperature was just too much for the dogs to handle. They focused on points of interest, like the location of Bazil’s discarded rock bucket and the area where his vehicle was found, but to no avail. One dog team is still searching the area, and more handlers have expressed interest in assisting, but until the temperature begins to fall, Lee says it will be tough.
Despite the lack of clues, Lee says they’re not giving up. In the future, searches will be far more targeted, and Lee says nothing is off the table when it comes to finding Bazil.