Italian authorities have called off the search for a 24-year-old American airman who went missing from his base in northeastern Italy more than a week ago.
Staff Sgt. Halex Hale, from Middletown, Indiana, was last seen at a cookout at a friend’s house in the town of Sacile on the evening of July 2.
The house is 9 miles from the Aviano Air Base, where he’s been stationed with the 31st Fighter Wing since February 2015. Hale was supposed to visit another friend’s home nearby but never arrived. He also left his cell phone and keys behind.
The airman’s father, Lance Hale, and an uncle arrived in Italy on Friday as a search was being conducted by U.S. Air Force personnel, local law enforcement officers and volunteers.
But on Sunday, Italian law enforcement authorities said they’d called off the search the previous evening following three fruitless days. “They found no evidence of any kind, physical or otherwise,” Capt. Michael Hertzog II, spokesman for the 31st Fighter Wing, told The Associated Press. It’s unclear whether Air Force officials are still searching for Hale. The Huffington Post has reached out for comment.
Air Force officials have also declined to speculate on the circumstances surrounding Hale’s disappearance, Stars and Stripes reported. They have issued an all-points bulletin to appeal for information on his whereabouts.
Hale has been in the Air Force for six years and previously served in Afghanistan, according to the Air Force Times.
“We’re just devastated,” his mother, Amy Hale, told The Muncie Star Press after news of his disappearance first broke.
“It’s very trying. I’ve got to believe. Keep up the faith. Keep the prayers coming,” she told WISH-TV. “I feel my child needs me and I can’t get to him.”