There is also a facebook site for the search and a $5,000 reward is being offered for the clue that leads searchers to Tarter or his truck.
It was chilly and overcast at 7:30 Saturday morning but that didn’t stop a large group of people from taking part in what was probably the largest search yet for young Bryce Tarter, who has been missing since Jan. 31.
Tarter, a student at Armstrong Atlantic State University, was last seen attending a party in Statesboro on the night of January 30. According to friends, he went back to Armstrong to get his truck. It is believed he then headed for home in Guyton about 3:30 a.m., although no trace of Tarter or his truck has been found since.
A large group of volunteers were on hand Saturday to help in the search. One couple, Jim and Ginger Hannah from McIntosh County, brought their horses to aid in the effort.
“They are actually starting a mounted search team for Georgia, and they’re recognized by the Brunswick Police,” search organizer Clint Droste said of the Hannahs.
One couple in Bluffton, S.C., heard about the search and came over to help, as did another couple from near Jacksonville, Fla. A group of Guardian Angels joined in as well as Pete Smith from the Rincon Fire Department and Jason Land from the Effingham Fire Department.
It’s believed that Tarter is either in Effingham, Bulloch or Chatham county, and the Effingham County Sheriff’s Office dispatched extra resources to assist the search team in a support role, said ECSO spokesman Detective David Ehsanipoor.
“We’re here to help the family any way we possibly can,” he said. “That’s our goal — to help find Bryce Tarter and just help the family and also let them know we’re out here along with the other searchers.”
He also said he thought this was going to be one of the biggest searches in Effingham County.
Tarter’s father Blake, his grandfather Steve and his aunt Tammie Griffin, with whom he lived while attending AASU, were on hand.
“Reality hasn’t totally sunk into me that we’re never going to see him or talk to him again,” Steve Tarter said. “As time passes, you have to deal with it, so you have to find pleasure in simple things and try not to dwell on that.”
Griffin said the group was going to search down Highway 119 through Steel Bridge into Bryan County and Bulloch County and were searching both on foot and with ATVs and horses. She said Steel Bridge is a back road from Statesboro to Guyton where her nephew lived and was a route he might have taken coming back from Savannah.
“We have to rule out any and all areas,” Droste said. “We don’t know exactly what happened. We have to go on alleged statements at this point, and this Operation Hope, is exactly what it says, a hope that we’ll find something. But this is a no-fail mission in the way that, if we find something, that’s great, if we don’t, we can to some extent, rule out another area.”