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Search continues for missing blind man in South Salt Lake

Published: Friday, March 15 2013 4:50 p.m. MDT

SOUTH SALT LAKE — The search for a man who has been missing for 48 hours and is legally blind shifted to the Jordan River on Friday.

Benjamin Thomas Hyde, 35, was last seen about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday at Valley Mental Health's residential facility near 1000 West and 3600 South. Hyde is legally blind but has some sight capability and is still able to walk to certain places on his own, said South Salt Lake police officer Gary Keller. He frequently walks to places along 3300 South between 800 West and Redwood Road, Keller said.

On Wednesday, Hyde walked to a check-cashing business. That was later verified by investigators using surveillance video. He went back to his room but did not show up for dinner at 5 p.m. and was not present to receive his medication at 8 p.m., Keller said. Hyde's coat and wallet were found in his bed.

In addition to his blindness, Hyde takes medication for an undisclosed mental illness. Keller said there was concern Friday that Hyde could become more confused the longer he goes without his medicine.

There is a trail that leads from the residential facility to the Jordan River Parkway Trail. Fearing that Hyde may have fallen in the Jordan River, Salt Lake County Search and Rescue crews were called to assist South Salt Lake police Friday in search for Hyde. Crews were searching the banks and river itself.

The man's family was en route from Idaho to assist in the search efforts late Friday afternoon.

Because of danger posed by the rising water level, Keller said law enforcers did not want any volunteers from the community going to the area to help search.

Hyde is about 6 feet 1 inch tall, weighs 180 pounds and has brown eyes and brown hair. He was last seen wearing a dark colored shirt — possibly green — and dark pants.

Anyone with information on Hyde can call police at 801-840-4000.

E-mail: preavy@deseretnews.com

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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