Search Underway for Missing Man in Willowdale State Forest

ipswich missing man search
The search on Old Right Road

Note: The search resumed Monday morning. The man has been identified as Mark Porter, 54.

IPSWICH — A state policy helicopter and dogs are helping Ipswich police and fire departments in a search for a missing man.

The search started before noon today, November 5, in Willowdale State Forest.

The man, described as an avid camper, lives in Ipswich. Police started the search after noticing his truck was parked for an extended period at the Linebrook Road parking lot.

At first, police and fire had a joint command on Old Right Road.

But at around 1:44 p.m. they moved it to the other side of Route 1.

At one point, the state police helicopter crew asked if camping was allowed in the state forest.

After checking, Ipswich dispatch radioed back to say that no camping was allowed and that ground crews should be told if any tents were spotted.

Shortly after 2 p.m. dispatch radioed to say that Massachusetts Environmental Police would soon be joining the search.

At one point, the state police K-9 officer asked if he could get access to the man’s vehicle — presumably for the dog to get a scent.

After it was opened, an officer radioed to say the man’s cellphone and keys were in the vehicle.

That made the search a little more difficult, since the device’s location could have been roughly estimated from its signal to cell towers.

Shortly before 3 p.m., the state police K-9 found a Home Depot receipt from October 27 for dock line.

Police were also looking for a purple mountain bike the man may have left at a trail head.

After refueling, the state police helicopter was back after 4 p.m.; it radioed to say that it would keep looking until “weather came down” for them.

After 4 p.m., search parties had started filtering back, and the search was called off for the day.

The state police air wing radioed at 5 p.m. to say they were finished for the day.