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Search for missing man leads to discovery of other human remains

Search for missing man leads to discovery of other human remains (KSNV)

Miles down the Lava Butte dirt road into a desert wash, Red Rock Search and Rescue is working to find a missing man.

Boulder City Detective Ron Miller said he knows Joseph Mackanos was headed to the Henderson DMV when he disappeared on Jan. 17. Mackanos car was discovered ten days later in a wash in Lava Butte East of Wetlands Park. His car was stuck on a rock in the desert, but he was nowhere to be found. Three weeks later, he is still missing.

RELATED | Body discovered after driver spots a suspicious object in the desert

Red Rock Search and Rescue’s Steve Smith is the incident command on Thursday’s mission. He said this team of volunteers has put 450 hours into looking for him since his car was discovered.

"He had no water or food. He's a heavy smoker 69 years old," Smith said.

His daughter, Jamie Tisu, is heartbroken. She said he only wears a pair of shoes she gave her dad ten years ago, but that may be the clue these volunteers need to find him. She says her dad has dementia now but has fond memories of him. Tisu said he lived off the dollar menu at Burger King for 30 years, so she could live out her dream showing horses.

“He is the greatest human being I ever met. He literally went into the 70’s and never came out,” Tisu said.

Smith said they have had cadaver dogs, maps, and expert trackers who know just how to follow a trail. Prints from shoes can lead them to locate a person.

"I'm like, you're the greatest people I wish I had never met," Tisu says about the team members.

On Sunday, while the team was searching they came across a skull. The coroner was called out to the search and was able to locate a jaw according to Craig McVeay, the Deputy Commander of Training. They also found teeth, which may connect it to another case where bones were discovered four years ago.

Recently, these searches have led them to find more than just the person who is missing. On that day, they say more than 40 people showed to look for Mackanos. Each time volunteers are out on the trail, many where GPS devices and their tracks are downloaded to a database that is later used to assess if they have missed an area. They will then send people to cover that area the next search.

While Joe remains missing, the search to find him will not stop. His daughter desperately wants to find him, no matter the result.

"My whole life it's just being me and him and the thought of him dying alone just shatters me," Tisu said.

Boulder City Police say they have no reason to suspect foul play. Anyone with information can call Boulder City Police Department at 702-293-9325.

Red Rock Search and Rescue has about 200 members. If you would like to become a volunteer or donate click here.


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