Man Clambers Down Cliff and Disappears

May 18, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
A report that a man ran and jumped off a cliff overlooking the San Joaquin River sent rescuers scrambling. They expected to find someone badly injured, or dead. "Looking at it, and looking at the steepness of it, it's in my opinion, hard to imagine anybody could run down that but unfortunately, we don't have any witnesses who can tell us exactly what happened at the bottom." Fresno County Sheriff's Deputy Brent Stalker was among those sent to look for 54 year old Billie Richards.

Because it was so steep and there was so much heavy brush, deputies weren't able to climb down to the bottom. The Highway Patrol Helicopter was called in and hovered just a few feet over the water searching up and down the river. There was no sign of Richards.

The Fresno Fire Department put a rescue boat in the river, and scoured the banks. Again, no trace of Richards..

"At this point the area we thought somebody, he would have been in, he's not there." Stalker said.

Richards had gone to the area, near Herndon and Monroe, Northwest of Fresno with his ex-wife, Debbie. She said they were talking, when he became angry, and went down the embankment. The Fresno County Sheriff's Department has listed him as a missing person.

Richards was wearing blue jeans and a white shirt. He has long blonde hair, a moustache and a goatee. His ex-wife says he is very thin, and looks like Buffalo Bill.

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