Kari Dauer-Hewitt briefs volunteers on the search for Will Cierzan at the command post in the Albertsons parking lot in Valencia on Saturday. Samie Gebers/The Signal
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In search of missing Valencia resident Will Cierzan, more than 40 volunteers equipped with radios, hiking boots and trekking poles, took to the hills Saturday morning.

Cierzan mysteriously disappeared from his home on Jan. 26.

“If it were one of my kids or my husband, I would want people to apply the same effort,” said Kari Dauer-Hewitt, an administrator of a social media group tasked with organizing the search.

“We’re sending small groups out with well-trained leaders into the areas of the community that need to be searched,” Hewitt said.

Stefani Jacobvitz, right, checks in with volunteers Lindsey James, left, and Lorie Lawson, middle, in the Albertsons parking lot in Valencia on Saturday. Samie Gebers/The Signal

The group met in a shopping center parking lot near Copper Hill Drive and Avenida Rancho Tesoro and coordinated the effort at 8 a.m.

“They’re going to comb every style of landscape in Santa Clarita.”

Volunteers were discouraged from handling any possible evidence and asked to send photos and information back to the event’s command post.

The search team planned to alert investigators to any evidence found.

Though sheriff’s officials were aware of the activity, the search was not endorsed by the sheriff’s department, Hewitt said.

A missing person flyer for Will Cierzan sits on top of a vehicle at the command post in the Albertsons parking lot in Valencia on Saturday. Samie Gebers/The Signal

But that didn’t stop volunteers from helping in the effort to find an answer.

“With today’s climate and everything that is going on, it’s nice to see people come together regardless of their backgrounds to help out a family,” said Volunteer Kristy Jones, a Santa Clarita resident hoping to put her hiking experience to good use.

“I put myself in his wife’s position,” she said. “I would surely want the support of my community to help out.”

Linda Cierzan, the missing man’s wife, prepared a statement for Hewitt to read to the volunteers before the search began.

With teary eyes, Hewitt read, “Will is always saying that we are not lucky, we are blessed.

“Thank you for your help, your thoughts and most of all, your continued prayers.”

Kari Dauer-Hewitt briefs volunteers about the search for Will Cierzan at the command post in the Albertsons parking lot in Valencia on Saturday. Samie Gebers/The Signal

As of noon, no signs of the missing man were uncovered. But the feeling of togetherness held strong throughout the morning.

“Thank you on behalf of SCV Emergency Now,” said Ray Smith, another administrator of the Facebook group.

“This is what community means.”

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Samie Gebers
Samie Gebers is currently studying broadcast journalism at College of the Canyons. She reports on the weekends as well as produces video content during the week.
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