UPDATE: 8:00 a.m. EDT — Cayln McLemore went missing on Wednesday, June 20 from a Florida military base. After days of searching, his body has been found. Clay County Sheriff’s Office wrote on Facebook at 8 p.m. last night, “Specialist Calyn McLemore was found deceased, a short time ago, in a wooded area of Camp Blanding. This now becomes an undetermined death investigation.” See below:
Before his body was found, CBS 4 reported his disappearance did not appear to be suspicious and he may have become disoriented and dehydrated in the heat.
Our condolences go out to McLemore’s friends and family.
A National Guardsman who went missing this week near the military base he was training at in Florida has prompted a widespread manhunt. Cayln McLemore hasn’t been seen or heard from since Wednesday, the Florida Times-Union reported on Friday.
Search crews scoured the area on and around Camp Blanding in Starke, Florida, with local law enforcement maintaining optimism that McLemore would be found safe.
“The conditions are very tough these last few days, especially the conditions right now,” Clay County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Keith Smith told the Florida Times-Union. “We are still remaining positive and hoping we can locate him and that he will just need some medical attention. He’s a squared-away soldier, a hard-charger who just wanted to go out there and complete the course. He probably pushed it to the limits in this extreme heat, so again we are just going to remain positive.”
McLemore, an Alabama Army Reserve soldier, went missing during a training exercise. When he didn’t make it to a check point by late morning on Wednesday, military leaders organized the search. As of Friday afternoon, some of his gear had been found, but not his canteen.
Concerned family members came to Florida from his hometown of Memphis after hearing he went missing, including his grandmother.
“It’s devastating because I don’t know what’s going on,” McLemore’s grandmother reportedly told local news outlet Action News Jax. “I don’t know what has happened to my grandson.”
Aside from the severe heat and humidity, other challenging weather conditions were preventing search crews from moving faster.
“And with all the rain that we have had, and it’s a kind of swampy area anyway … waist-high to chest-high swamp, mud and water,” Smith said. ”… It’s taken [our searchers] a lot to get through there and we have to make sure we keep our guys hydrated. It is a meticulous and methodical search.”
As of Friday, no foul play had been suspected. More than 400 people have reportedly been taking part in search and rescue efforts to cover more than 1,000 acres.
This is a developing story and will be updated as additional information becomes available.