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UPDATE

Police call off search for missing Roseville man

Community comes together in coordinated effort to find Brent Bell
By: ToLewis, The Press Tribune
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Roseville police called off all active searches Thursday for a west Roseville man who has been missing since Sunday. Police are still following up on leads, but are no longer actively searching for Brent Bell, 49, who left his home in the Woodcreek Oaks area around 6 p.m. Sunday, possibly armed with a hand gun, according to Dee Dee Gunther of the Roseville Police Department. According to family members, Bell has been suffering from depression for about a year and they fear he may have ridden his white Trek cruiser-style bicycle to a remote area to harm himself. Police and volunteers began searching for Bell on Monday, but have been unsuccessful in locating him, Gunther said. More than 100 community volunteers gathered at Woodcreek Golf Club Thursday morning in an organized mass community effort to locate Bell, but were unable to find him. Dee Kerr, a neighbor of Bell’s, orchestrated the search effort via social media and immediately received an outpouring of community support. “Before Roseville (police) even started their search, we had volunteers knocking on our front door,” said Kerr, a retired Placer County Sherriff’s deputy. Volunteers gathered around a command post Thursday morning set up in the parking lot of the golf course, awaiting instructions on where to go search. Twenty teams of four to six people were sent out, some being led by tracking dogs and armed with grid maps and cell phones, and searched 27 square miles in rural areas of unincorporated Roseville around Fiddyment Road and Blue Oaks Boulevard. “Our window of time for a recovery is fading,” Kerr said. “We want to make sure that we’ve done everything we possibly can before we, as a community, call it a day.” Bell, who has lived in west Roseville with his wife and three children, ages 9, 11 and 15, for seven years, is described as a white male, 5 feet 8 inches tall weighing 215 pounds with brown hair and green eyes. He was last seen wearing a white Woodcreek All Stars T-shirt and blue jeans. Volunteer Holly Abplanalp said her son plays sports with Bell’s oldest son, Dylan. She joined the search Thursday with her German sheppard, Kaden, a trained search dog. “God bless all these people for being out here,” Abplanalp said. “It’s been such an emotional roller coaster that from one moment to the next, you can’t know what anybody is feeling.” According to his wife of 17 years, Michele, Bell is an active father who coached his son’s baseball and football teams, and is very involved with his two daughters’ softball teams. She said since Bell went missing, she has received support from friends and family in many ways, including bringing meals for the family. “It’s just a very lonely feeling,” Michele Bell said. “Having everyone’s support is making a critical difference for me. It’s making me feel like I’m not so alone.” She said Bell, who works as an HVAC technician, was diagnosed with diabetes two years ago, and the family has since not been able to afford life insurance. She said her husband was given a double-dose prescription of the anti-depression drug Prozac one week before he disappeared. A stay-at-home mom raising three children, Michele Bell said she is very concerned that the breadwinner of the family is missing. She said she previously knew nothing about the disease of depression, how serious it is or how bad it could get. “I am so shocked of the transformation of his personality this past year,” she said. “It’s really scary, and it changes somebody completely.” Kerr said Thursday’s search was the last ditch effort to locate Bell in such a large, coordinated group, but she hopes the community will not give up searching. She has set up a community forum via Facebook called “Find Brent Bell” where community members can continue to coordinate their search efforts, she said. “We just want him home,” said Bell’s son, Dylan. “Whether he is with us still or not, we want to make sure he is not out there just lying somewhere.” Toby Lewis can be reached at tobyl@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @TobyLewis_RsvPT.