By Melissa Garcia
Adam Gilbertson, 29, a Denver hospice nurse, disappeared nearly a month ago. He was last seen leaving a live music venue on Broadway near Center Avenue just before one in the morning on Dec. 15.
Friday, family members received an update on his last known whereabouts.
Video surveillance cameras showed Gilbertson walking past the Ace Hardware store in a shopping center near Bannock Street and Alameda Avenue, heading northwest.
The South Platte River, about a mile west of the hardware store, was the focus of much of Saturday’s search efforts.
“It’s devastating,” said Nichole Jenniges, who did not know Gilbertson, but felt the need to help. She was one of 130 people who answered the call to help find the missing Minnesota native.
“We’re Minnesota natives,” Jenniges said. “So of course, it’s too close to home.”
Gilbertson had lived in Denver for about four months when he vanished.
His sister, Amy Linnell, said Gilbertson is the youngest of four very close siblings. “He’s our little brother. And so, he wouldn’t just take off,” Linnell told CBS4’s Melissa Garcia.
The volunteers split up into five search teams Saturday morning and searched about six areas well into the afternoon. They looking for any clues that they hoped may lead them to the missing man.
“For me, there is nothing worse than not knowing where someone is or what happened to someone,” one mother said. Although she did not know Gilbertson, she and her young daughter gave up their Saturday morning to help in the search.
A drone recorded digital images from above while volunteers walked the banks of the South Platte River. They looked in water, among trees, and under bridges.
Mark Wonder, a Denver native and owner of Diamond Standard Events, rallied some of his company employees together to organize the search parties.
“The terrain, walking in through this is really rough,” Wonder explained. “We’re having to use human chains to get down to the river… We have found different (homeless) camps. A lot of needles… A lot of feces.”
While the task was difficult and dangerous, volunteers said the search was worth the trouble.
“I just keep thinking, what if this were my brother?” Jenniges said, starting to choke up. “I would want people out there looking for him and doing everything that they could.”
A Denver Police spokesman said the department was actively investigating the disappearance of Adam Gilbertson as a missing person’s case. Officials were not able to say whether investigators suspected foul play.
Anyone with information about Gilbertson’s location is asked to call the Denver Missing and Exploited Persons division at 720-913-6653.
Melissa Garcia has been reporting for CBS4 News since March 2014. Find her bio here, follow her on Twitter @MelissaGarciaTV, or send your story idea to email@example.com.