Volunteers from a North Carolina-based non-profit and Horry County police still are searching for a teenager reported missing from Aynor more than three weeks ago.
Zachary Malinowski was last seen Aug. 25 in Aynor and he was last spoken to by phone about 12:15 a.m. Aug. 26.
The 19-year-old played basketball with friends then went with one of the friends to a house on 7th Avenue in Aynor, according to a press release from the Community United Effort (CUE) Center for Missing Persons. Malinowski left the house alone about 11:30 p.m. on Aug. 25, telling his friend he was getting something to eat. He hasn’t been seen since, the release stated.
His car, a 1996 Chevrolet Beretta, was found “completely burned” along Valley Forge Road, said Lt. Robert Kegler, with Horry County police.
CUE has been searching the Aynor area since the start of the month, focusing near Valley Forge Road where the car was found. Monica Caison, with CUE, said the search will be moving towards Conway this week.
Caison, said the search has utilized at least 30 K9 Units in the Valley Forge Road area near Aynor. Those dogs are cadaver searching dogs as well as article search dogs that look for shoes, hats and other similar items, she said. A water K9 unit from Texas also was used during the Valley Forge Road searches.
Caison said there are eight searchers with the center helping to look for Malinowski in Horry County.
“Right now, we need a couple days to regroup with being there for 17 days searching,” she said.
But, they’ll be back out on their ATVs, horses and feet scouring the area. Caison said the search will be moving towards Conway after weeks of focusing on the outskirts of Aynor.
Horry County police also continue to follow leads, Kegler said.
Malinowski was last seen wearing a red shirt, black gym shorts and either black and white flip flops or a pair of Air Jordan shoes. He is 6’1” and weighs about 150 pounds and has brown hair and brown eyes.
Caison said she’s told the family there’s still hope.
“Without a body, there’s still hope and sometimes hope is just locating that person, no matter how bad it is,” she said. “No family likes to linger. It’s a lot of time waiting for answers about a loved one.”
Malinowski is the most recent missing person in Horry and Georgetown counties, but there are five others missing from the area and 20 total in South Carolina according to CUE records.
• Last year, a Georgia native Johnny Lamar Brown was reported missing by his family vacationing in Myrtle Beach on Aug. 3.
He told his family he was going to take a walk to the Family Kingdom Amusement Park while they were vacationing a few blocks south of the park in Myrtle Beach.
Brown hasn’t been seen since appearing on surveillance footage at a beachwear store in Surfside Beach on Aug. 3, 2012.
The family later learned he had tried calling their Cartersville, Ga. home. The last call came in about 9:30 a.m. Aug. 4 from Surfside Beach.
Brown was 45-years-old when his family last saw him. He is characterized as someone with special needs. He also has a stutter that can make communication difficult. His mother Ruby Brown explained his disability can cause him to get confused and disoriented. He stands about 5’6” and weighed about 146 pounds when his family last saw him.
• In 2009, Brittanee Marie Drexel was reported missing while on spring break in Myrtle Beach.
She was 17 when she was last seen leaving the Blue Water Hotel on Ocean Boulevard April 25, 2009.
Police and CUE officials began searching areas in Georgetown a Charleston counties after learning Drexel’s cellphone gave off its last known signal on April 26, 2009 in Georgetown County.
In August 2011, police searched a room at the Sunset Lodge on U.S. 17 near the Georgetown County Airport where someone identified as a person of interest had stayed. Police officials declined to comment on findings in that hotel room, and no new information has been released since.
At the time she was last seen, Drexel was 5 feet tall and weighed 103 pounds. She has brown hair and green eyes, but wore blue colored contact lenses.
• Crystal Gail Soles was 28 when she was reported missing from Andrews and was last seen Jan. 24, 2005.
• Kareem Jamaal Ward has been missing from Horry County since June 1, 2001. He was 23 at the time.
• Garret Hughes has been missing from Georgetown since Nov. 27, 2003. He was 44.
Anyone with information about Malinowski’s location can call 915-5350 or 915-TIPS. Anyone with information on Drexel’s or Brown’s disappearance can call Myrtle Beach police at 918-1963. Or contact CUE by visiting www.ncmissingpersons.org or calling (910) 343-1131.
Contact AMANDA KELLEY at 626-0381, or follow her at Twitter.com/TSN_akelley.