Tuesday morning searchers continued looking for a man believed to be missing in the Smokies.
Park Spokesman Bob Miller says the search party includes 30 people and a helicopter. The search from the air is impeded by the forest canopy which covers 90% of the area says Miller.
Investigators have been questioning Derek Joseph Leuking's friends, family, and coworkers to piece together the missing man's plans. Miller said Leuking was last seen leaving a motel in Cherokee alone around 4:00 a.m. Saturday morning.
Miller says Leuking is not an experienced off trail hiker.
The National Park Service is still on the lookout for a 24-year-old Blount County man who's car was found in Great Smoky Mountains National Park Saturday.
Derek Joseph Leuking's Ford Escape was found in the Newfound Gap parking lot at the North Carolina line. Inside of the car, authorities found a note. However, the note did not reveal any clues as to where the Louisville native had gone.
Authorities have since searched a 40-mile stretch of the nearby Appalachian Trail in search of answers. Great Smoky Mountains National Park Spokesperson Bob Miller said some clues were found Monday.
"Whether they pan out, whether they're really good clues, I don't know," he said.
The National Park Service [NPS] did not tell 10News what those clues were.
According to Miller, NPS performs missing person searches frequently throughout the year.
"We'll have anywhere from maybe 80 to 100 of these every year and most of them resolve themselves within the first twelve hours," Miller said.
Searches have varied in cost from $500 to as much as $300,000 in the past. Miller said they can get expensive very fast if overtime and more search resources are added.
Currently, 30 people are looking for Leuking from different agencies across the area.
"We work commonly with agencies and volunteers outside of the park," said Tabbatha Cavendish of the National Park Service.
One agency includes the Tennessee Highway Patrol which is using its helicopter to search for Leuking from the air.
"You're looking for footprints, [and] you're looking for articles they might have in their backpack," Cavendish said.
The search will continue Tuesday. Rangers ask that anyone who may have seen Leuking either inside the Park
or elsewhere since Saturday morning call the Park's
Communication Center at (865) 436-1230.