CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The active search for a Marine and 2016 graduate of the Citadel who went missing in the Sierra Nevada mountains has been suspended. The search was moved to what the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office called “limited continuous mode."
First Lt. Matthew Kraft, 24, is originally from Connecticut. He planned an 195-mile itinerary through the high Sierra mountains and was supposed to finish his route in the Bridgeport, California area on March 4 or 5, according to the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office.
On March 4, Kraft’s father contacted the Mono County Sheriff’s Office after not hearing from his son. The Inyo County Sheriff’s Office then began a search and rescue operation on March 5. On the night of March 8, Kraft’s vehicle was found at the Grays Meadows campground above Independence, California, according to the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office.
Search and rescue teams have done aerial reconnaissance. Future plans for the search include putting in a ground team near an area known as Kearsarge Pass and Big Pothole Lake. Crews are also concerned about safety given possible issues with avalanches.
Air support is being coordinated with Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, Fresno County Sheriff, California Highway Patrol, Air National Guard, China Lake Naval Weapons Base, and the United States Marine Corps.
According to The Citadel’s website, Kraft was a member of the third battalion India Company and was also named a Summerall Guard at the school.
If you think you might have seen 1st Lt. Kraft or even been in the search area since February 23, please call 888-653-0009