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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Search continues Thursday for Spokane man who mysteriously disappeared in Santa Clara after 49ers football game

The search continued Thursday for a Spokane man who disappeared Monday night after a San Francisco 49ers football game in Santa Clara, California.

Capt. Wahid Kazem of the Santa Clara Police Department said about 40 officers and volunteers canvassed an area west and north of the stadium Wednesday, where 32-year-old Ian Powers was last seen. Surveillance video from Levi’s Stadium and cellphone records show Powers contacted his girlfriend and parents around 10 p.m. while outside of the stadium on a thoroughfare that leads to water and marshlands.

“Our primary effort was really to get boots on the ground and cover a lot of territory or space, to see if Mr. Powers was lying injured or unconscious, or had suffered some type of medical episode,” Kazem said. “We did not locate him, so we are taking the next steps now as to what to do.”

A ground search resumed Thursday, but Kazem said efforts to get a helicopter in the air were stifled by thick wildfire smoke permeating the area due to large wildfires burning in the northern Bay Area. Powers was last seen wearing a red 49ers T-shirt, red 49ers hat and blue jeans. He’s about 6 feet tall and weighs about 190 pounds, with brown hair and blue eyes.

“We’ll start with some businesses near there in hope they’ll have some external footage of him,” he said. “Maybe it will help give us some direction.”

The 32-year-old was first reported missing Tuesday morning by his girlfriend, when she said he didn’t return to a hotel room after the game. The woman, who was there with her two children and some members of Powers’ family, told police he went to use the bathroom in the fourth quarter at around 8:15 p.m. and never returned.

After the game was over, however, Kazem said Powers sent text messages and participated in a Facebook video call with his girlfriend and family as they coordinated a place to meet up outside of the stadium.

“Some of the responses from Mr. Powers weren’t very reasonable or didn’t make sense,” Kazem said. He added that Powers was reportedly drinking at the game, though his level of intoxication is unknown.

On Tuesday, police located Powers’ vehicle, still parked in the same stall. Kazem said it didn’t appear anyone had broken in or accessed the car since before it was parked.

“It was basically found in the same location and in the same general condition as they had left it when they first arrived at the game,” he said.

With a lack of leads and explanations, several of Powers’ friends and family members took to social media looking for answers. His girlfriend, who posted on Facebook at about 4 p.m. the day he was reported missing, wrote that her “family vacation has turned to hell.”

“God please, please tell me you kept him safe for me,” she wrote early Wednesday morning.

Robby Sabados, one of Powers’ friends, created a GoFundMe campaign for the woman and her kids, who are reportedly staying in a motel and using “different sources of transportation to look for Ian.”

Powers’ sister Christina Grosse released a statement to media Wednesday saying they are “trying our best to handle everything and that we miss you and love you.”

“Ian come home,” she said.

A Facebook profile for Powers shows he went to Shadle Park High School and served time in the Washington Army National Guard. He also worked at Hotstart Inc., an engine heating company in Spokane Valley. A supervisor there told KXLY News he was devastated and was “hoping to see (Powers) back soon.”

The 49ers told Bay Area media they are cooperating in the investigation.

Kazem said that, with the evidence available, investigators are stumped on whether Powers is a victim of a crime, or simply walked away and became incapacitated due to a medical issue.

“Unfortunately, as much as I wish we had one of those directions to focus on, we still have not gotten anything specific to lead us down that path,” he said. “All avenues and possibilities remain open and on the table.”

Anyone with information is asked to call the Santa Clara Police Department at (408) 615-5580.