Mendocino authorities have few leads in the continuing search for a Southern California man last seen 11 days ago in Laytonville.
Blood hounds picked up the scent of Erik Lamberg, 51, of Hermosa Beach where his van was found abandoned in a ditch along a rugged stretch of Sherwood Road, Mendocino County Sheriff's Capt. Greg Van Patten said.
The dogs tracked the scent heading eastward along Sherwood Road, a rugged mostly dirt road that winds through the forest between Willits and Fort Bragg.
But the dogs also picked up his scent heading west from the van toward Fort Bragg, suggesting Lamberg may have walked in one direction, then turned around and headed in the other, Van Patten said.
"There doesn't seem to be any signs he went into the forest," Van Patten said.
Lamberg had been suffering from bipolar disorder and was driving to Oregon where he hoped to seek treatment, said his wife, Samantha Lamberg.
After Lamberg spent several days in Fort Bragg, his silver 2004 Honda Odyssey broke down May 26 near Leggett and was towed to Laytonville.
He seemed anxious over the phone when he told his wife about the problems with the van but then seemed more relaxed after he checked into Laytonville's Budget Inn, Samantha Lamberg said. He checked out May 28.
His wife called authorities May 29 after she hadn't heard from him.
The Sheriff's Office issued an alert for the van and monitored his cellphone and credit cards, but found no trace of the man, Van Patten said.
On June 1, passersby reported the silver 2004 Honda Odyssey stuck in a ditch about 12 miles east of Fort Bragg and 20 miles west of Willits. That day, deputies searched the area and called out to Lamberg with their patrol car bull horns, Van Patten said.
The noise set off Lamberg's van alarm but they found no sign of him, other than what appeared to be bare footprints made by a large male.
Deputies subsequently returned to the area in pairs, talking to motorists that frequent the road. On Wednesday after the sheriff's search and rescue team finished two days of combing the area with dogs, they were left with few clues to go on, Van Patten said.
Deputies also have been knocking on doors in the outskirts of Fort Bragg asking neighbors if they have seen the man.
Lamberg is 6-foot-5, weighs 200 pounds and has sandy-blonde hair and blue eyes. His mental health condition may cause him to be suspicious of people but he has never shown an inclination toward violence, his wife said.
"Hopefully if (people) had contact with Erik they'll let us know," Van Patten said. "We have had a couple of potential sightings that didn't turn out."
The search and rescue team is planning their next move, which may involve searching the area where the van was found for trails or roads leading off the main road, Van Patten said.
Anyone with information about the case can call the Sheriff's Office dispatch at 463-4086.
You can reach Staff Writer Julie Johnson at 521-5220 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @jjpressdem.