WDAY: The News Leader

Published May 03, 2010, 08:19 AM

Family of missing Kensal man keeps hope alive

Kensal, ND (WDAY TV) - There are a million questions and not a lot of answers, that from the Foster County sheriff after eight days of searching for a missing Kensal man. Border Patrol airplanes scanned the James River near Kensal, about 30 miles north of Jamestown.

Joshua Blahna's wallet and other belongings were found in his car in that area. Blood hounds, Valley Water Rescue out of Fargo, Game and Fish and the Foster County Sheriff all searched the water and fields. Authorities are not ruling out foul play or the use of drugs and alcohol.

SHERIFF MICHAEL TUFTE: "We have search dogs out here and we've got a bunch of neighbors that have been out on four wheelers and things like that. We're just trying to keep looking, with any hope."

For the Blahna family, they haven't gone a second without searching, keeping hope alive that their son and brother is safe, somewhere.

It's been a surreal eight days for Jim Blahna and his son.

JEREMIAH BLAHNA: "Not the best."

JIM BLAHNA: "We found a tennis shoe stuck in a fence. One he was wearing. Pair of socks on the shore we think he was wearing."

Jim, along with his 21-year-old son Jeremiah, has been spear-heading a county-wide, week long search for their son and brother. A man Jim says was living the cowboy dream, helping him with his 450 head cattle ranch, but today, few clues, leads, or answers.

JIM: "He was down visiting friends and then he went shopping at Wal-Mart and came out here where his mother lives, got a flat tire."

Family and rescue crews are searching up and down the James River as well as spanning across it. Earlier, the found socks and footprints on the east side of the river, but they're not sure if they're Joshua's.

SUZIE MATHWICH/JOSHUA'S AUNT: "I was very scared so that's why we came right away."

Aunt Suzie Mathwich and her son made the six hour trip from Wisconsin right away, lending a hand and support.

SUZIE: "We were texting each other Sunday night right before this happened."

A tight-knit family, looking for the missing link, a week that this father never thought would be spent here.

SUZIE: "I can't imagine what he's feeling because as bad as it hurts me, it has to be 100 times worse for him.”

But this rural Kensal farmer says he won't give up hope, and will keep trudging. The family is still offering a 10-thousand dollar reward for any information leading to the whereabouts of Joshua.