NELSONVILLE, Ohio (WCMH) — The rivers are flowing, but the tree canopy hasn’t covered Nelsonville‘s hills yet. Rick Brooks wears green rubber boots as he walks the banks of the Hocking River with his black German shepherd Thor.
He’s searching for the missing.
“It started when my nephew Kyle (Bridgeman) came up missing, and then I was out every day,” Brooks said. “And then we hooked up with Golden Hearts, Voice 4 the Voiceless.”
Searching was an important part of bringing Bridgeman home to rest, said his grandmother Linda Johnson.
“They only have so many resources,” said Johnson of the law enforcement authorities. “They can’t get out every day and search and go through the woods, or empty houses — which are things that we did. You know, that eliminated those places, so they didn’t have to go searching (there).
Brooks has several people on his mind as he walks the river banks. Kimora Zinn, a 17-year-old girl, went missing on Jan. 7 from her home outside Logan. According to the Hocking County Sheriff, Kimora is believed to be in the Maple Heights, Ohio, area.
“Who knows? They could have slipped in, or they could have been put in there,” Brooks said, nodding toward the river.
Derek Johnson, 39, went missing on Jan. 20, 2022, from the Haydenville area. Koby Roush, 26, has been missing since July 2020, and Raymont Willis II, 43, has been missing from Waverly since July 2020, according to the Ohio Attorney General’s office.
“Reach out to some of these non-profit search organizations,” Linda Johnson advises friends and family of the missing people. “Because that’s what they’re there for.”
Brooks said he hope’s Derek Johnson’s family helps them with information about where he might be.
“You’ve got to come and bring closure to people,” he said about his search efforts. “The drugs do take family members, and destroys a lot.”