Search continues for missing man in Blodgett Canyon


MISSOULA, Mont. - Family, friends, law enforcement officers, and search and rescue crews are scouring the woods outside Hamilton for a missing man.

Ryan Silsby, 25, of Missoula went camping more than two weeks ago and hasn't been seen since. He went camping up Blodgett Canyon, west of Hamilton on August 16.

On Tuesday the family reported him missing.

Sheriff's deputies in Ravalli County found Silsby's vehicle at the Blodgett Canyon trailhead Tuesday. They've been searching that area since then.

It's a puzzle that has friends, family and authorities mystified. NBC Montana went to the scene Wednesday evening and found searchers still at work.

"Once you get into the canyon, it's very thick and very rugged," said Clay Silsby, Ryan's dad.

Clay Silsby came from Oregon to look for his son. He says he usually talks to his son once a week. All five of his children are adventurous but he considers Ryan the most outgoing.

"He's an outdoorsy guy, he's very likeable, he's always got a big smile on his face. His friends count him as somebody they trust," said Clay Silsby.

Clay's a volunteer search and rescue pilot, but he's doing this search on foot.

NBC Montana was told camping gear was still inside Ryan's vehicle at the trailhead but his backpack and cellphone were not.

Ryan's an experienced climber, but his dad doesn't think he'd go alone.

"He usually doesn't climb by himself. He didn't take his climbing gear with him when he left his car, so I'm not really sure he was intending to climb. He didn't take a lot of gear with him when he left," said Clay Silsby.

A dog team has been sniffing for Ryan's scent and the sheriff's office could use all the help they can get.

"There's a lot of undergrowth off the trail. It's going to be tough hunting, a tough search for the folks that are up there," said Ravalli County Sheriff Chris Hoffman.

There's another missing man in Ravalli County too. The active search for George Baumann of Stevensville was suspended two days ago.

Now the sheriff's office is at it again. They tell NBC Montana they are working to get more tracking dogs and volunteers to look for Silsby.

Ryan Silsby is about 6-foot-1 and weighs about 170 pounds. He has brown hair, blue eyes and was believed to be wearing a yellow shirt and green shorts.

If you saw anyone matching that description in Blodgett Canyon or have any information, contact the Ravalli County Sheriff's office at (406) 363-3033.

The following is a press release from the Ravalli County Sheriff's Office:

On Tuesday, September 2nd, the Ravalli County Sheriff's Office received a report of a missing person. A family member notified the Sheriff's Office that 25 year old Ryan Boyd Silsby of Missoula had intended to go camping up Blodgett Canyon, west of Hamilton, on August 16th. Silsby told the family member that he intended to be back to work in Missoula on August 18th. No one has had contact with Silsby since the 16th.

Ryan Silsby is described as an adult Caucasian, 6 feet 1 inch tall, 170 pounds. He has brown hair and blue eyes, and was believed to be wearing a yellow shirt and green shorts. Silsby is said to be an experienced outdoorsman.

Sheriff's Deputies located Silsby's vehicle at the Blodgett Canyon Trailhead, and notified Ravalli County Search and Rescue. Sheriff Chris Hoffman said that a search was underway as of yesterday afternoon. A helicopter had been requested, as well as more assistance from True North Search Dogs, who had just left Ravalli County after searching for George Baumann.

The Sheriff's Office is working to obtain further information regarding Mr. Silsby's whereabouts, and is asking for the public's help. If you believe you saw Ryan Silsby in Blodgett Canyon, or have any information pertaining to him, please call the Ravalli County Sheriff's Office at 406-363-3033.