Police and rescue teams are searching for a married couple who disappeared in New Jersey‘s Pine Barrens preserve 11 days ago.
A massive search led by the Stafford Township Police Department’s Detective Bureau and the Ocean County Prosecutor’s office took place on Tuesday and Wednesday of last week for Gary Parker, 67, and his wife Lorraine, 60, of Warren Grove, New Jersey,
The couple were last seen driving into the natural preserve, which covers more than a million acres, on an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) last week before failing to return, the Stratford Police said.
Their ATV was later discovered by their wooded home with a shotgun strapped to it, prompting the couple’s daughter to raise concerns about her parents’ mysterious disappearance.
Gary (left) and Lorraine Parker (right) have been been missing since November 17th, although police do not have any official date for their mysterious disappearance
The New Jersey Pine Barrens, also known as the Pinelands or simply the Pines, is the largest remaining coastal pine barrens ecosystem in North America, stretching across more than seven counties of New Jersey. It covers more than 1.1million acres of land
The Parkers were last seen on November 17, and a neighbor told police that she had last spoken with Lorraine last weekend, according to the Asbury Park Press.
Lindsay Parker, the couple’s daughter, shared on Facebook that her parents have been reported missing since 12.41a.m. on Tuesday morning. She later shared that day that her parents’ ATV was found near their home.
‘My parents quad has been found along with my father’s shotgun which was strapped to it. Still no sign of either of my parents,’ she wrote.
‘Their quad was found stuck in a field not far from their home that my dad has used for years to bait deer. Trail cam footage has nothing after footage captured last week.’
The couple’s daughter, Lindsay, shared the news of police finding her parents’ ATV last week, saying her father’s shotgun was strapped to it
Lindsay (left) said local authorities have yet to find her mother and father (right) after a two-day hunt, including K9 dogs, drones, air support and more than 100 searchers
Police have not provided a timeline for the couple’s disappearance. Stafford police captain, James Vaughn, ruled out the possible outcome of the couple going for a multi-day hunt, saying that in the rural community ‘many people […] have shotguns readily available,’ according to the Sandpaper.
Vaughn added that if the couple did leave to go hunting without warning anyone, then he would be ‘hopeful’ that they would survive because, ‘[T]hey are both avid outdoors people,’ he told the outlet.
Before passing on the search to its detectives and the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, Stafford police conducted a two-day manhunt — which included more than 100 searchers, police dogs, ATVs, drones, and air support — but it came to no avail.
‘We have completed our search of this area, which has included an extensive grid search by foot, ATVs, K9 dogs, drones, and air support. At this time, they have not been located,’ police said.
Authorities even urged hunters to be vigilant of the more than 100 searchers walking through the area last Wednesday.
The Warren Grove Gunnery Range, a military bomb practice range, is also located nearby. Military planes, including A-10s and F-16s from East Coast Air National Guard units, use the area for practice bombing and strafing.
Anyone with information on the whereabouts of the couple are urged to contact police at 609-597-8581 or Detective Sergeant Neil McKenna at 609-597-1189, ext. 8440.