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Search continues for missing man in the Smokies

3:56 PM, Mar 20, 2012   |    comments
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 Approximately 30 searchers, three tracking dogs and a helicopter are being used in the search for Derek Joseph Leuking, says a spokesman with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Fliers are being passed out at popular trail-heads with information about Leuking, in hopes that someone coming out of the back country might have seen him.

Leuking, 24, of Louisville, TN was reported missing on March 15.

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A spokesman with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park says dog teams will be joining rangers in the search Monday morning for a man believed to be missing.

Rangers began the search for Derek Joseph Leuking, 24, of Louisville, TN over the weekend.

Leuking's Ford Escape was found Saturday morning at the Newfound Gap Parking Area in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

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Rangers at Great Smoky Mountains National Park are searching for a man believed to be missing.

Derek Joseph Leuking, 24, of Louisville,TN was reported missing by co-workers and family members Thursday, March 15.

Leuking was reportedly last seen at 4:00 am Saturday, March 17 at the Microtell Hotel in Cherokee, NC.

Leuking's Ford Escape was found Saturday morning at the Newfound Gap Parking Area in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Since then rangers have searched more than 40 miles of the Appalachian Trail and other connecting trails radiating out from Newfound Gap, but haven't found any signs of Leuking.

He was believed to be carrying a dark colored day pack, but not a tent or sleeping bag.

Leuking is described as a white male, 5'11" tall, 220 pounds with short brown hair and a short beard. He is believed to be wearing black track pants, white tennis shoes and may have had a Realtree camouflage rain suit. 

Rangers ask that anyone who may have seen Leuking either inside the Park or elsewhere since Saturday morning call the Park's Communication Center at (865) 436-1230.

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