Published January 16, 2014
Authorities are scouring swamps and areas of the Passaic River in New Jersey Thursday for any sign of missing Wall Street Journal reporter David Bird, who was last seen leaving his home five days ago.
Bird, 55, left his home in Long Hill Township in Morris County at around 4:30 p.m. Saturday to "take a short walk," Chief Michael Mazzeo of the Long Hill Township Police Department told FoxNews.com.
The long-time journalist and father of two is an "avid walker" and known to take walks "at extended miles and for hours," according to Mazzeo.
But Bird, who had a liver transplant nearly 10 years ago, was recovering from a gastrointestinal virus when he left for the walk wearing a red rain jacket, and police fear he may have collapsed in the area surrounding his home, Mazzeo said.
Morris County was hit with heavy rain on Saturday, after Bird set out for a walk, and portions of the surrounding Passaic River flooded area swamps.
"We’ve been searching portions of the Passaic River in the event that he may have slipped and fell into the water," Mazzeo said. "We've also searched all of the roadsides to see if maybe someone hit him with a car because some of these roads are pitch black."
All area hospitals have been checked "multiple times," Mazzeo said, adding that it is "absolutely possible" Bird is alive after possibly having collapsed somewhere or taken shelter from the rain.
Mazzeo said it doesn't appear Bird planned to take a long walk because he did not bring any water, food or his cell phone.
When asked about the possibility of foul play, Mazzeo said "anything is possible" but that such a crime would be "extremely unusual" in that area.
Mazzeo added that, "There’s nothing in his life or background or past of any indiscretion."
"He wasn’t a drinker, a smoker, or taking drugs. All indications from his electronics do not show any indiscretions whatsoever. He is a scout leader," Mazzeo said of Bird, a married father of two children, ages 12 and 15.
The Bird family issued a statement Thursday, saying it is, "enormously appreciative of the incredible efforts being undertaken by law enforcement and volunteers to find David, and we are anxious to receive definitive information on his whereabouts. While we cannot address any aspects of the police investigation, we urge anyone with information about David’s whereabouts to come forward and share it with the authorities."
Gerard Baker, the editor in chief of Dow Jones and managing editor of the Wall Street Journal Journal, said in a statement: "Mr. Bird is a longtime member of the Dow Jones newsroom. Our thoughts are with his family and we are working with the Long Hill Township Police Department as they continue their search."
The Long Hill Township Police Department is being assisted by state police helicopters, park police mountain patrol, ATVs from various police agencies as well as canines from the sheriff’s department.
Anyone with information on Bird's whereabouts is being urged to call The Long Hill Township Police Department at 908-647-1800.