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Man goes missing days before 40th birthday

TONOPAH — An extensive search is underway in Esmeralda County and surrounding areas for a man who went missing shortly after taking a new job and moving to Silver Peak.

Charles Kinkel III and his wife, Trayce, were living in Wells where he had been employed in the mining industry.

He accepted a job with Ledcore Mine at Silver Peak as a haul truck driver and had moved into a small apartment. His wife was planning on joining him soon.

She last talked to him on the evening of Wednesday, July 24, promising to give him a morning wakeup call for work the next day.

Her first call at 5:55 a.m. went unanswered and she continued to call for 30 to 45 minutes with no response. Following those efforts, future calls went directly to voicemail.

Knowing that her husband had joined the volunteer fire department, she called the community’s fire chief, who went to Kinkel’s home and looked for him without luck.

He reported to Mrs. Kinkel that her husband was not at home and his vehicle, a 2010 silver Toyota Matrix, was nowhere to be found either.

Next she called his boss, who indicated the missing man had not shown up for work nor called.

Her next calls were to the Esmeralda sheriff’s office and other law agencies worrying that he may have been arrested. Calls to area hospitals also proved fruitless.

The sheriff’s office thought it had a break when Kinkel’s vehicle was found near the junction of U. S. Hwy. 95 and State Route 265, which connects the main highway with the tiny Esmeralda town of Silver Peak. The rest area with a historical plaque is commonly called Blair Junction.

The vehicle was locked when found about noon on Thursday, July 25, and Kinkel’s phone was found inside, although his wallet and a debit card were missing.

The car had about a third of a tank of gas, plenty of fuel to reach Tonopah or other points north on U. S. 95. Kinkel’s wife said the only way her husband would abandon the vehicle would be if it broke down or ran out of gas.

With a friend, she drove to central Nevada on Sunday and retrieved the car from police impound. It was running fine and the duo planned to drive it back to Wells on Monday after putting up “missing person” posters everywhere they could in central Nevada.

Calls to Sheriff Kenneth Elgan Thursday for the latest information about the case were not answered.

The missing man is described as five-eight, 150 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes.

He was 39 on the day of his disappearance, but turned 40 on July 28.

Kinkel sometimes sports a goatee but often is clean shaven. He wears glasses (usually for reading at night) and has hearing aids in each ear.

His left ear is pierced and has a dragon tattoo on his left lower arm.

He wears a silver wedding band and two small gold hoop earrings and was last seen in blue jeans, a tee shirt and brown steel-toe boots.

Kinkel has no underlying medical conditions, according to a family friend.

Persons with any information about the disappearance are asked to call the Esmeralda County Sheriff’s Office at (775) 741-9249.

According to the posters regarding Kinkel, “This poster was placed by an Awareness Angels Network member, a program sponsored by the Jason project. For additional information, please see www.projectjason.org.”

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