Search for Missing Staunton Hiker Continues

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Robert Fitzgerald Robert Fitzgerald

Search teams have ended another day of looking for Robert Fitzgerald. The 60-year-old returned to the Confederate Breastworks Trail on Shenandoah Mountain last Monday to find a cell phone he dropped during a hike and has not been seen since.

Search teams have been searching for Fitzgerald since Thursday, when he was reported missing. Ground teams, tracking dogs and aircraft are involved in the search for Fitzgerald.

Friends of the Staunton man say they still have faith he's alive. They say if anybody could survive six nights out in the wilderness, it is him.

Robert Fitzgerald - or Bobby as his running friends call him - would spend Sunday mornings pounding pavement with them at gypsy Hill Park in Staunton. Fitzgerald is part of Team Gypsy Hill, a group of runners that meets in the park to exercise together every Sunday.

Kerry Alexander is Fitzgerald's neighbor and running partner. He says when he heard Fitzgerald was missing he started searching on his own. "I drove by his house several times a day and I, several of us, several people I think, drove his route to work," he stated.

Fitzgerald's friends say he is a man of perfect health. When he is not running with the group, he works out at the Staunton YMCA.

Jimmy Atkins has been running with Fitzgerald several times a week for the past two years. "Bobby is a real friendly guy, I mean he's really outgoing and anytime when we would run he would always see several people he knew, he seemed like he never met a stranger," he stated.

Members from the running group say they have faith Fitzgerald is still alive.

Atkins stated, "While nobody is invincible, he just seems like the type of person who can take care of themselves - extremely fit, probably the fittest 60-year-old any of us have ever seen."

The Augusta County Sheriff's Office will hold a press conference at 9:30 Monday morning to update what has been done to search for Fitzgerald the past several days.