UPDATE (June 17, 2019):
Family members say 38-year-old Iraqi War veteran Eric Pry has been found safe and sound in Virginia after going missing last month.
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Family, friends, and fellow soldiers are searching for a local veteran that went missing while hiking the Appalachian Trail.
Eric Pry, a 38-year-old Iraqi War veteran from the Slippery Rock area has been missing since May and according to his brother, he was staying with a friend in Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia.
“He left on May 24 and just has not come back yet,” said Chris Pry, Eric’s brother, and a fellow soldier. “No phone call, no nothing, just disappeared.”
Family and friends have been searching the area of the trail where Eric was last seen.
William Rape served with him in the Iraqi War, he’s one of eight former platoon members involved in the rescue this weekend.
“We’re a family, I can’t say anything else, we would all do the same for any of us,” he said in a phone interview.
His brother Chris worries because Eric suffers from post-traumatic stress syndrome or PTSD, a mental health problem that develops in soldiers after combat.
“He was overseas four times, so I mean I’m sure he’s struggling with it just like everybody else,” Chris said. “It’s tough being over there and tough coming home.”
To make matters worse, they are facing treacherous rocky terrain along the trail with lots of thick brush.
“If somebody would be a hundred feet off the trail, you are really not going to see them,” said Rape.
Rescuers are passing out fliers and hoping to get the word to other campers, but there are hundreds of miles of trails.
“Every hiker that comes up through they’re getting pictures shown to them, asking them if they say any odd campsites that might be semi-hidden,” Rape added.
“His friends, his family, guys he served with are looking for him,” Chris said. “We just want to know you’re alive.”