Family of missing man hires private investigator to help with search efforts

Updated: May. 5, 2021 at 9:04 AM EDT
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FAIRFIELD TOWNSHIP, Ohio (FOX19) - Almost a year after a Fairfield Township man disappeared, police continue to search for him, while his family members hope a fresh set of eyes will help the investigation.

Although they have searched a lake in Lindenwald, examined pieces of evidence and looked through his car, nearly a year after Michael McKenney vanished, investigators have not found him.

McKenney’s mother Yolanda Middleton said her son disappeared in May 2020 while he was staying with his aunt. His vehicle was later found abandoned at Hueston Woods in Butler County, a place the 29-year-old frequented.

“This is probably one of the worst experiences that a parent can ever go through,” Middleton said. “Michael was a very friendly person, for one. He did love the outdoors. He liked going fishing, hiking.”

Fairfield Township Police call the case an active and open one. Detectives said they have followed up on every tip and pursued every lead, but right now, they need more information.

“We’re missing clothing items and what not. We haven’t found his wallet. We haven’t found his keys still,” Middleton said. “He had a vape pen which still has not been located.”

In hopes of helping with the investigation, Middleton has raised enough money, through donations, to hire a private investigator. She said they have already searched a local property for any sign of McKenney.

“We’ve also used dogs to search several areas, and we’re just now, we’re getting some drones and things to do some further searching,” she said.

At this point, police said they cannot rule out foul play as a possibility since they do not know what happened. Middleton fears someone has harmed her son.

“It’s almost been a year, and we need to know where he is,” Middleton said.

Investigators confirmed that two people who may have been with McKenney on the day he disappeared have since passed away. They are hoping there may be others out there with information.

Middleton said she and other volunteers will be searching again soon and are still raising money through a GoFundMe and an account at Fifth Third Bank.

Anyone interested in helping or donating can stay updated through the Bring Michael Home Facebook page. There is also a #FindMichaelMcKenney hashtag.

Police are asking anyone with information to contact them at 513-887-4406.

Middleton said people can contact the private investigator, John Sain, by calling 937-974-6026 or mailing information to him at 557 Salem Avenue, P.O. Box 60223, Dayton, OH 45406.

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