Search to resume for missing Wall Street Journal reporter David Bird

David Bird went for a walk in January and never returned to his New Jersey home.

David Bird went for a walk in January and never returned to his New Jersey home.

Authorities are renewing the search for a missing Wall Street Journal reporter who disappeared while on a walk in his New Jersey neighborhood almost four months ago, his family said Thursday. 

David Bird, a 55-year-old veteran reporter and avid hiker, was last seen Jan. 11, 2014, as he was leaving his home in Long Hill Township, N.J. He told his family he was taking a "short walk" and left his cellphone at home to charge.

Despite extensive searches of the area, authorities have found no trace of Bird, a liver-transplant recipient and Boy Scout troop leader. He was last seen wearing a red rain jacket with distinctive yellow zippers, blue jeans and sneakers.

"His family asks that members of the public in and around Long Hill Township continue to search yards, outbuildings, nearby wooded areas — and their memories — for any clues to Mr. Bird’s disappearance," a spokeswoman for the family said in a statement Thursday. 

The search for Bird was postponed for several weeks due to severe weather and heavy snow that blanketed the region through much of the winter. 

The Long Hill Police Department, in partnership with New Jersey Search & Rescue, Inc., will deploy ground crews and dogs to "retrace the steps of earlier searches" in and around where Bird was known to walk on hikes, according to the family. 

 "Over time, the search will expand until all areas within a 3-mile radius of Mr. Bird’s home, including parts of the Great Swamp, have been thoroughly combed," the family said. 

Friends of Bird created a "Help David Bird’s Family" page on the crowdfunding website in March to benefit The Bird Family Trust. The site raised $25,000 in just two months.

"It has been an extremely difficult time for our family," his wife, Nancy Bird, said in a statement Thursday, "but our hearts are filled with gratitude for the continuing prayers, positive thoughts and generous support of our friends, neighbors and co-workers."

"The outpouring of love has given us the courage and strength we need to live through this," she added. "We truly appreciate the tireless effort and dedication of the Long Hill Township Police Department and the New Jersey Search & Rescue Team. We have faith and confidence that David will be found."'s Cristina Corbin contributed to this report.