Update, Monday, June 25: Bakersfield police said the search has been called off for Ertug Ergun. They didn't give a reason the search was called off. The original story, posted over the weekend, is below.
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — A Bakersfield man has been missing for a week, and now the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department finally located his SUV, but not him.
Ertug Ergun moved to Bakersfield from Turkey a year ago to work for an independent oil company on California Avenue. Friends of Ergun believe he went hiking in the Angeles National Forest one week ago and then disappeared.
Jim Hussey has been working with Ergun at Incremental Oil and Gas for more than a year. Hussey said the last time he spoke to Ergun was Friday, June 15, when Hussey said Ergun wished him a good weekend and said he would see him on Monday.
A week later, L.A. deputies located Ergun's SUV abandoned at Stonyvale Picnic Area in the Angeles National Forest, a public parking area where hikers head out to the very treacherous "Suicide Canyon." The canyon's website says a hike from the top is one-way that requires leaving a return vehicle at the Stonyvale Picnic Area. Suicide Canyon is considered the third steepest mountain range in the U.S.
Deputies said Ertug's gray Mitsubishi Outlander was first noted to be in the picnic area parking lot Monday or Tuesday. A ranger ran the license plate Friday and made the connection to Ergun, who had been reported missing June 20.
Mountain search-and-rescue teams have been scouring the surrounding area for Ergun since then, along with a sheriff's helicopter and a team with search dogs.
Hussey said Ertug didn't tell him he was going hiking, but it certainly wasn't out of character for him to do so.
Ergun's 33rd birthday is Sunday, June 23.