EXETER, R.I. (WPRI) – Friends and family of a missing Coventry woman are continuing their search even as local police have called a halt to their efforts to find her.
“New day, new hope,” Mike Pendleton said Saturday morning at the Arcadia Management Area in Exeter.
His mother, 59 year-old Patti Pendleton, was reported missing Tuesday after she didn’t show up for work. She had gone hiking off Ten Rod Road, prompting several days of intense searching by volunteers, police, and even helicopters from the State Police and National Guard.
Searchers covered more than 4,000 acres of dense forest, finding her car and a pair of glasses believed to be hers, but no other sign of her.
Mike has taken the lead on search efforts for his mother, which Coventry police suspended at 5 p.m. Friday.
“She means everything to me,” he said. “She was my mom and my dad growing up, and I’ve been here from sun up to sun down since Tuesday, and I’ll continue as long as I can.”
Saturday, he organized and led the first all-volunteer search, which drew dozens of people.
“I’m very overwhelmed by the support of the community,” he said. “All week they’ve been here, and today, without an official search, to have this many people, it means a lot to me.”
Their continuing efforts are hampered by the fact that Saturday is the start of shotgun hunting season: Pendleton opted to start the search later in the morning so as not to encounter any hunters out around dawn. He also provided orange vests and hats to those volunteers who didn’t already have them.
Pendleton remains confident that his mother, who he describes as an experienced hiker, is still alive.
“I’m expecting that she probably rolled an ankle, maybe broke a leg or something, so she’s gonna be hunkered down, maybe in and out of consciousness,” he said.
Pendleton plans to continue searching “as long as it takes” to find Patti, and is using his own Facebook page to share information about volunteer search efforts. He welcomes all volunteers.