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Search for Union man identified as endangered missing adult has been called off

NKyTribune staff

The search for a missing Union man, identified as an “endangered missing adult” has been called off, according to the Boone County Sheriff’s office.


Despite a two-day search, involving 50 individuals from several local agencies, Earl “Josh” Callen, 39, has not been located.

Callen left his home on Lower River Road Monday, following what was described in a release as   a “psychotic episode.” He has not been seen or heard from since.

The area around Callen’s home and the Ohio River shoreline were searched using police personnel, volunteers and dogs, to no avail.

The Sheriff’s office advises anyone that chooses to continue searching for Callen independently use extreme caution because of the dangerous terrain in the area.

The Boone County Sheriff’s office issued this release about the decision to call off the search:

Earl J. Callen has not been located and the active search has been called off. Over the past two (2) days and in conjunction with approximately 50 members who gathered from Boone County EMA, Kentucky EMA, Campbell County EMA, Kenton County EMA, Campbell County Land SAR, the Red Cross, Duke Energy and Fire Departments from Alexandria, Union, Burlington, Hebron, Airport (CVG), Walton, Belleview-McVille, Edgewood, Point Pleasant, Florence, Crescent Springs, Covington, Erlanger along with the Northern Kentucky Technical Rescue Team and the Kentucky Search Dog Association, approximately 2.3 square miles or 1,500 acres was searched in the area surrounding Earl Callen’s residence. The Ohio River shoreline was also searched by land and boat.

If anyone chooses to conduct their own independent search, we advise that you use extreme caution due to the heavily wooded area, varying elevations and extremely dangerous terrain.

The original release from the Boone County Sheriff”s office, which provides a description of Callen:

On Monday, 12/31/2018 at approximately 7:55PM, a 39-year-old Union, Kentucky man was reported missing by family members after not being heard from for more than 24 hours.

Earl “Josh” Callen, 39 of Union, Kentucky was reportedly with friends on 12/30/2018 at his residence at the 12300 block of Lower River Road. Callen reportedly had a psychotic episode and ventured into the woods in a northeasterly direction.

Callen has not been seen or heard from since.

A report was not immediately made upon Callen’s departure from his residence because it is not uncommon for him to spend an extended period of time in the woods, and most who knew him believed that he would reappear at some point. A report was made by family members after no contact could be made with Callen for more than 24 hours. 

Callen had left his dog at the residence along with his cell phone, two things that are very uncommon for him.

Once the report was made on 12/31/2018, Boone County Sheriff’s Office patrol supervisors immediately contacted Boone County Emergency Management (EMA) to initiate an active search of the area. 

Due to weather conditions, safety concerns and limited visibility, the search was put off until the next morning.

On 1/1/2019, Boone County Sheriff’s deputies along with EMA conducted an extensive search of the area surrounding the 12300 block of Lower River Road. The search included both tracking and cadaver dogs which covered at times very uneven and rough terrain.

Units had negative results with the search.

Callen is described as a white male with a beard, 5’11”, 175 LBS and long brown hair that extends below his shoulder. Callen has a tattoo on his chest which is a picture of Jesus and a bump on his left cheek that is categorized as a mole or wart. No clothing description could be provided.

If you have seen Earl “Josh” Callen or know his whereabouts please dial 911. Callen was entered into NCIC as an Endangered Missing Adult. 

NCIC is a nationwide database.

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