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In Long Hill Township, N.J., authorities have used just about everything — divers, K-9 units, helicopters, all-terrain vehicles and scores of volunteers on horseback and on foot — to search for David Bird.

The Wall Street Journal reporter, 55, who covers energy markets, hasn't been seen since Jan. 11, when he left home for a short walk. He was wearing a red jacket, bluejeans and sneakers, and left without his cellphone or his medication, which he is required to take twice a day.

"This has really got everybody very concerned,: said the Rev. Victoria McGrath of All Saints Episcopal Church, where a prayer vigil for Bird earlier this week ended with the crowd singing, "He's got David Bird in his hands."

The intense search — which according to a family member has included fliers posted 30 miles away in New York's Penn Station — has drawn national attention.

Police officials say they have found no indication of foul play. Still, the FBI is among the agencies that have joined the search. There were unconfirmed reports that one of Bird's credit cards had been used in Mexico.

Just about everybody in the small town is on the lookout for him.

"I've talked to a lot of people in town who say, 'As I'm driving around town, I keep slowing down and looking to see if I can see a red jacket anywhere,'" McGrath said. "There is very much a sense of everybody being on alert even if they're not actively part of the search team."

Chris Fleming, Bird's sister-in-law, said the family was still hopeful but worried that "it's gone on so long."

Adding to the anxiety is that Bird desperately needs medication twice a day for a liver transplant that he received about a decade ago, Fleming said.

Bird, a Boy Scout leader, has two children, ages 12 and 15.

Police have asked residents to check home surveillance cameras; search teams have scoured the Passaic River and wooded areas near Bird's home.

The town, about 30 miles west of New York City, is bounded by the 7,768-acre Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge on the north.

"We ask that everyone please continue to share Mr. Bird's missing-person fliers daily to keep his image in the forefront of everyone's mind," police officials said on their Facebook page.

Gerard Baker, editor in chief of Dow Jones and managing editor of the Wall Street Journal, called Bird a "longtime member of the Dow Jones newsroom."

"Our thoughts are with his family and we are working with the Long Hill Township Police Department as they continue their search," he said in a statement.

"If anybody has any information about this man, we want him back," Fleming said. "He's a great guy."

richard.simon@latimes.com

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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