More than two weeks after a Dupo man disappeared during a hunting trip, authorities still have no idea what happened to him.
Searchers have occasionally returned to the wooded area along Route 3 just outside of Cahokia where Christopher Stasiak was last seen Jan. 11, according to St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department Capt. Scott Weymouth.
“The water has gone down quite a bit in the canal there and there have been, literally, hundreds of people searching those woods,” Weymouth said. “But we haven’t found anything.”
Weymouth said searchers aren’t willing to give up on the possibility that Stasiak fell into the canal, which was choked with Mississippi River flood water at the time of his disappearance. But they think it’s possibly he may be missing of his own free will.
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“We’ve interviewed family members and they report that he has disappeared without warning numerous times in the past,” Weymouth said. “We’re still hopeful that he’s going to give us a phone call and tell us he’s alright.”
According to St. Clair County court records, Stasiak was wanted at the time of his disappearance on a warrant for failing to pay fines and court costs associated with a conviction for driving under the influence in 2013. But Weymouth said he doesn’t think that’s a big enough reason to motivate a person to potentially arrange his own disappearance.
“There is nothing that has happened recently in his life that would cause us to believe he’d want to disappear,” Weymouth said.
Police did not have an estimate for how much money has been spent searching for Stasiak, an effort that included planes with thermal imaging cameras, boats with sonar, at least two search dogs, dozens of officers and firefighters on foot, St. Clair County’s mobile command center and other resources.
But Weymouth said it’s unlikely authorities would hold Stasiak responsible for the costs.
“If he’s in another location it’s possible he might not even know that we’ve been looking for him,” Weymouth said.
Stasiak was dropped off, along with a bow with several arrows and a portable tree stand because he said he planned to hunt near the Prairies Golf Course. He was supposed to call later in the day for a ride home. But he never phoned.
Wearing camouflage clothes and boots, Stasiak is described as a 5-foot-9 man who weighs 272 pounds.