Yavapai County Sheriff’s deputies and rescue personnel continued the search effort for Rich Gaffney today. He was last seen on June 19, 2012 at his business in Seligman. Gaffney’s vehicle, a silver 2003 Toyota Corolla, was found June 20, 2012 parked near milepost 345 on Highway 89 in the area of Little Hells Canyon, north of Paulden. Detective Ross Diskin is requesting contact from anyone who might have seen or had interaction with Gaffney, his vehicle, or hitchhikers, between June 17 and June 21, 2012. The focus area is between Seligman and Little Hells Canyon encompassing I40 and Highway 89. Please call 928-771-3260 or Yavapai Silent Witness at 800-932-3232.
Search efforts have included ongoing flyovers by YCSO’s helicopter, Rescue 1. Today, several ground crews in addition to 9 quad volunteers and 3 YCSO deputies were strategically deployed in wilderness areas adjacent to where Gaffney’s car was found. Additionally, detectives spent time in Seligman checking for background information that might lead to an understanding of Gaffney’s disappearance.
Pre-Update June 26, 2012 story: Yavapai County Arizona Sheriff’s Office deputies are seeking the whereabouts of 51-year-old Rick Gaffney from Seligman. Gaffney is 6’ tall, 185 pounds with blond hair, blue eyes, last seen wearing light green khaki shorts, grey shirt, and Nike brand tennis shoes. His vehicle has been located.
A co-worker called the Yavapai County Sheriff’s office on June 20, 2012 to report Gaffney missing. Gaffney was last seen around 11:00 a.m. on June 19, 2012 at the J & R Mini Mart Café, 223 West Route 66, Seligman. Gaffney, who owns the Mini Mart café, told a co-worker he was heading to Flagstaff Arizona to pick-up business supplies and to meet a friend. The co-worker had already called the Flagstaff friend and discovered Gaffney never arrived.
Deputies contacted Gaffney’s business partner in Prescott Arizona who told them he found Gaffney’s car the morning of June 20, 2012 parked in a turnout on Arizona State Highway 89 near Little Hell’s Canyon – north of Paulden, Arizona. The vehicle was locked and nothing suspicious was observed.
The business partner ”called out for Gaffney” but there was no response, and Gaffney’s cell phone went straight to voice mail. Cells phones generally have limited signal access in the area.
The Arizona deputies were told Gaffney likes to hike in this area “to get away” and both the co-worker and business partner were unaware of any issues that would keep Gaffney from contacting family and friends.
Deputies initiated a search of the area, including a flyover by the YCSO rescue helicopter, without success. The following day, search ground units, including a scent dog team from the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office Response Team, were deployed. None of these efforts were successful in locating Gaffney or evidence of his whereabouts.
YCSO detectives were also on scene to assist in determining if foul play was a factor. No suspicious circumstances were discovered.
The search is ongoing as of press time today.
If anyone has information regarding Gaffney that would assist in locating him, call the YCSO immediately. Citizens can contact the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office with information or questions at 928-771-3260. The YCSO website is found at www.ycsoaz.gov.