Ventura County search-and-rescue officials called off a two-day search Wednesday after learning that a Bakersfield man that they were looking for near a Lockwood Valley campground had been in Washington state eight days ago, officials said.
About 35 rescue workers began searching the area around the Nettle Springs Campground on Tuesday afternoon when a hiker reported that a car had been abandoned there, Ventura County Sheriff's Lt. Gary Backman said.
The 1978 station wagon had a flat tire, Backman said, but there was no sign of the driver.
The car's owner, Anthony Tiglio, an unemployed mechanic, had not been reported missing in Kern County or elsewhere in the state, Backman said, but when authorities were unable to locate him through relatives, a search was begun.
"Under the circumstances, with his car being abandoned and no sign of him anywhere, they felt it was necessary to at least make a search and see if he was in the area," Backman said.
Judging from mud on the vehicle, officials initially believed that the car had been in the isolated campground near the Santa Barbara County line at least a week, Backman said.
Further investigation Wednesday proved "that the vehicle has probably been there for a month or more and that the so-called missing person was in Washington state eight days ago," Backman said.