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Search for ND father of three turns up nothing yet

WILLISTON -- Although there's been no trace of a Williams County man who disappeared more than a week ago while on a motorcycle ride, the search continues.

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WILLISTON -- Although there’s been no trace of a Williams County man who disappeared more than a week ago while on a motorcycle ride, the search continues.

Zackary Baldwin set out for a half-hour ride the evening of June 26. He was expected to return in time for dinner and a family birthday celebration, but instead was reported missing the next day.

Since then, efforts to find him have spanned northwest North Dakota, crossed into Montana and included the help of law enforcement aircraft, family, friends and volunteers.

Intensive searches over the weekend covered hundreds of miles around Baldwin’s home, turning up no sign of the 30-year-old father of three. Still, those involved aren’t giving up hope.

A Minneapolis-based search and rescue group that arrived in Williston on Friday to deploy volunteers along planned routes is still coordinating efforts remotely after returning home on Sunday.

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“We’re just continuing to search and look for volunteers,” said Deanna Villella, the founder of United Legacy.

The non-profit usually only lends help to searches in Minnesota, but made an exception in Baldwin’s case.

“We just can’t have all of our resources out there, but we are aiding and assisting with planning, awareness and support for the family,” Villella said.

A drone team that the group hoped to bring in on Monday has not yet made the trip for financial reasons, she added.

Volunteers, especially those who can search on horseback or with ATVs, are being sought to comb through areas where Baldwin may have traveled. Over the past week, the focus remained on paved roads where Baldwin, a relatively inexperienced rider, would likely have ridden on his new sports bike. Now, though, searchers are being sent to scour gravel roads as well, Villella said.

“We’re really wanting to get a lot more horses and ATVs,” she said.

Baldwin, who works as an oil industry truck driver, moved to the Williston area from California about six years ago with his wife, Jessica Baldwin.

“I just want to find my husband safe,” she said Saturday, adding that she feels supported by the efforts of volunteers. “I’m extremely grateful. I feel super lucky to have a community like this. I can’t thank them enough.”

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The search, initiated by the Williams County Sheriff’s Office, broadened late last week to include monitoring of Baldwin’s cell phone and credit card activity. So far, though, attempts to track him down electronically have proved unsuccessful, sheriff’s office detective Corey Metzger said.

Baldwin is believed to have taken a prepaid cell phone with him when he left. The device doesn’t allow for tracking, but investigators were able to confirm that it has been turned off, Metzger said.

Reports of missing people are fairly common in the Bakken region, but Baldwin’s case is unique because it has stretched on for so long, authorities say.

“What commonly happens is that the person turns up within a couple of days,” Metzger said. “What’s uncommon is that we’re now over a week, and we have nothing to go off of.”

Anyone interested in volunteering for search efforts is asked to call 844-544-5683, or visit the Facebook page Help Find Zackary Baldwin.

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