TOWN OF BELOIT — As the search for a missing 84-year-old man continues, Town of Beloit Police Chief Ron Northrop said there is still hope Stuart Austin will be found safe and sound.
“I’m optimistic. We haven’t received any information that would indicate that he’s not still mobile. There’s no indications he’s been the victim of crime,” Northrop said.
Northrop said it’s possible Austin has traveled out of the region. Although his debit and credit cards haven’t been used, he was carrying a certain amount of cash.
Austin went missing Tuesday after visiting a family member in Madison. He is believed to be driving a white 2013 Lincoln MKS with Wisconsin plates 308-FCL.
Northrop said authorities have search a grid pattern from his last location going south between Highway 213 and 51.
Wisconsin State Patrol planes began searching Thursday. Once evening hit, the National Guard sent out a Blackhawk helicopter with night vision.
The Madison Police Department has been assisting with the case, checking businesses as well as security and traffic camera video footage. At this point no information has been received.
Austin also has been entered into a national database for law enforcement.
Northrop said he’s going to be working with the Rock County Sheriff’s Office and the Department of Criminal Investigations to coordinate efforts and see if investigative tactics need to be changed and/or streamlined. Northrop would also like to start a dedicated tip line.
Northrop said even the town administrator has put out an email for all administrators in the country.
Authorities have made contacts with residents at every address where Austin has ever lived.
For Northrop and his officers the case is becoming personal as they desperately hope to find him.
“You get involved in a case like this,” Northrop said. “You do take it personally. He’s someone’s dad, he’s someone’s grandpa. You take it home with you. You really do.”
Austin was last seen wearing a tan jacket, gray sweatshirt and gray pants. He is white, 5 feet, 9 inches tall and weighs 185 pounds.
Anyone with information should call Town of Beloit Police Department at 608-757-2244.