By Cleve Bryan
WOODLAND Twp., N.J., (CBS) — State police have called off the search, but volunteers continue looking for missing hunter Barnett “Barry” Zeldin who disappeared in the Warren Grove Recreation Area (see related story).
Zeldin, 74, left his Mays Landing home on Monday, Oct. 7 and told his wife he was planning to put bait at a deer stand near Chatsworth.
Zeldin signed in at the Audubon Gun Club on Route 563 at 9:55 a.m. Monday morning, according to his wife Janet Zeldin.
“They always sign in so the hunters know who is out there,” says Zeldin.
When her husband didn’t come home or call Monday night, Zeldin wasn’t worried because he was known to make spontaneous hunting trips that lasted several days.
“I didn’t think much of it, I figured maybe he got a deer and he was looking for it. He’s very independent,” says Zeldin.
She started calling him every hour Tuesday and Wednesday, but all she got was voicemail. Thursday she tried to drive to the Audubon Gun Club but couldn’t find it.
She successfully found the club on Friday and got several members to go out looking for Barry.
“A couple of us went out Friday night looking for him and we couldn’t find nothing. Then we went out Saturday, me and three other members of the club, and we found his automobile,” says Wilbur Swales who is president of the Audubon Gun Club.
Swales says inside Zeldin’s SUV his keys were in the ignition, cell phone on the dashboard and his dog Taffy was still waiting for her master.
“She ate the corn and molasses for the deer and must have drank rain water because the windows were down,” says Janet Zeldin.
New Jersey State Police and State Park Police searched for the missing hunter over the weekend using helicopters and K-9s. By Sunday afternoon there were no signs of Zeldin and the search was called off.
Volunteers with Burlington County K-9 Search and Rescue took another look in the woods Tuesday. They are working with the Zeldin family and other local groups to organize a large search party by the weekend.
“I know he’s good in the woods, that’s why I never worried, he knows what he is doing in the woods. He’s a very avid hunter, he probably could survive out there indefinitely,” says Janet Zeldin. Two days before he disappeared, the couple celebrated their 50th anniversary.
The Zeldin’s were long time owners of Barry’s Pretzels at Rice’s Market in New Hope, Pa.