An 18-year-old who disappeared Wednesday, just one day before his high school graduation, was still missing Saturday afternoon as searchers combed the hills around Cedar City for a fourth day.
Jason Edwards had been scheduled to graduate Thursday evening, along with 220 other Cedar City High School seniors. Iron County Sheriff's Deputy Don Murdock said two high school students reported they thought they saw Edwards on a bicycle Wednesday afternoon. Searchers have been looking for the boy since Wednesday, concentrating in the area just east of his home, but have turned up nothing.Murdock said well over 50 search and rescue personnel, law enforcement officers, Bureau of Land Management volunteers, friends and family members resumed the search for Edwards at dawn Saturday. Helicopters and search dogs have also been used. Murdock said law officers have little to go on - only that Edwards had left home Wednesday to go jogging and never returned. All his personal belongings are still at his home.
Edwards was on schedule for graduation, said to Cedar High School principal Ron Ferguson. "Everything seemed to be positive and on line for his graduation, and he had filled all the requirements."
The principal said he had a good relationship with Edwards. The two had met recently to discuss plans for Project Teamwork, an organization formed at the school to help prevent drug and alcohol abuse. Edwards served as the group's president this year.
Ferguson said Edwards was always friendly and took his assignment quite seriously. "He had struggled with life, as we all do," said Ferguson, "but he had pulled things together this year and he was a good, clean-cut young man."
High school adviser LeeAnn Behunin, who worked closely with Edwards on Project Teamwork, said that he was very enthusiastic about his work, especially at the first of the year, and made it a point to get close to youths who were having trouble. "He was very concerned and wanted everyone to know that they were cared about," she said.
Behunin said Edwards had attended workshops in connection with the project and said the group had sponsored a writing contest, held drug prevention assemblies and visited other schools in the area.
Connie Robinson, manager of the Cedar City Sizzler restaurant where Edwards worked, said that he had been an excellent worker since starting as a dishwasher about a year ago, and had moved from dishwasher to waiter in that short time.
"Everybody here really liked him. He got along well with everyone and had a good rapport with the guests." She said Edwards had been scheduled to work the night he disappeared and again on Monday, and had attempted to get someone to work for him on Sunday so he could take care of some church assignments. "We're all praying for him," she said, adding that he had failed to pick up his last paycheck.
Murdock said the search for Edwards would continue until dark Saturday and resume again Sunday at daylight. He described Edwards as about 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighing 150 pounds, with short brown hair and hazel eyes. When last seen Wednesday, he was wearing black shorts and a black tank top.