DOVER, Tenn. (WKRN) — It’s been exactly one month since anyone has seen Stewart County local, Steve Keel, 61, who disappeared in a remote part of Alaska while on a caribou hunting trip with a friend, and a $15,000 reward is being offered to help in the search.
Keel was reported missing Aug. 28 after going to pick up a backpack he had left on the tundra floor the night before and never returning. There has been no sign of him since but his wife, Liz Keel, has faith he is still alive. “With this new reward, other people may find out about it and want to get involved, and that’s what we’re hoping for,” Liz said.
The search has been suspended in Alaska due to the snowy weather, however, Keel’s friends and family are working to ensure people don’t completely stop looking for him.
U.S. Congressman, Mark Green met with the Keels in Dover Tuesday and promised to reach out to contacts who may be able to help on the national level. In addition, Liz told News 2 some other volunteers have contacted her wanting to help look for Keel.
“You think to yourself, this is really, truly what community is all about,” Liz said. “This is how you want people to treat each other, and I’m so grateful that in this really terrible circumstance, that that’s how people are responding.”
Now, Alaskan locals are waiting for the weather to clear up before relaunching their search efforts.
Liz told News 2 there have been zero signs of Keel, but she said that could be a positive thing. She remains hopeful she will be able to bring him home.
“They haven’t found clothing scattered or any signs of an animal attack or other things,” Liz said. “It’s just such a mystery, why he disappeared at that point and where did he go? That’s the frustrating thing, it’s just such a mystery.”
The Keel family is accepting donations to help in the search at all F&M Bank branches. Join the Facebook group, Search For Steve, to join the physical search efforts.
Crews ask that interested people notify the Alaskan authorities before they being looking for Keel in the wilderness.