New Castle News

October 10, 2006

Search teams looking for missing man

By Debbie Wachter Morris

A search has failed to produce a missing Slippery Rock Township man.

Mark Murincsak, 44, reportedly left his Shaffer Road home last weekend. State police found his abandoned truck on the Shenango River bridge early Monday morning with the keys inside.

Police and Taylor Township firefighters scoured the area looking for him Oct. 1. A Stat Medevac helicopter searched the location Tuesday at the direction of Taylor’s fire department.

Police and firefighters said Murincsak could have jumped off the bridge into the Shenango River, which has been running high and fast from previous rains.

Murincsak’s sister, Valeria Ann Sacoulas, said he was not home Monday morning when police called about the truck. Sacoulas, 55, lives with her brother.

Sacoulas had been trying to recruit safety forces to resume the search, which reassembled Thursday evening. Two state troopers also walked throughout the area, Sacoulas said.

Sacoulas said she and her friend, Pam Hallas, joined the team around 5 p.m. After four hours, the search was called off because of darkness.

About 40 Taylor Township firefighters turned out, along with members of K-9 SOS dog team.

“They did a marvelous job,” Sacoulas said.

She was told by state police and the fire department that they would return to the river yesterday with boats.

“I praise Taylor Township,” she said, noting that fire Chief David Allegro coordinated Thursday’s effort.

“He was very sympathetic,” she said.

State police Lt. Thomas Hill said there is no evidence that Murincsak jumped into the water. The state police are considering other possibilities.

“We’re interviewing people,” he said. “We physically searched the vicinity of the bridge that day.”

He noted that as of Oct. 1, the river current was too dangerous to initiate a water search.

Allegro said that several firefighters walked the stream’s banks Tuesday night when the medical helicopter was flying over.

After Thursday’s initiative, the search will taper off. He will wait a few days and have the department members check farther downstream.

“The river has to come down about a foot yet to be normal,” he said. “After that it’s going to be a waiting game.”

Sacoulas said that although there is a possibility her brother is dead, she wants to find him to have resolve in her mind.

Recognizing her concerns, Hill commented, “You never can do enough for them until they have closure.”