Great Smokies suspends search for 2 missing men

Great Smokies suspends search for 2 missing men

Posted:
Derek Lueking (source: National Park Service) Derek Lueking (source: National Park Service)
Michael Giovanni Cocchini (source: National Park Service) Michael Giovanni Cocchini (source: National Park Service)

GATLINBURG (WATE) - Officials at Great Smoky Mountains National Park say Monday they have suspended the search for two missing men.

The disappearances of Derek Lueking, 24, of Louisville, and Michael Giovanni Cocchini, 23, of Nashville, are separate incidents. But both are suspected of going missing in the park the weekend of March 17-18.

Despite having up to 60 searchers involved in the effort for almost a week, search managers found no clues to the whereabouts of either man beyond their vehicles.

Lueking's white Ford Escape had the keys locked inside with a note on top that said, "Don't look for me."

Cocchini's vehicle was parked at a walkway along Newfound Gap Road about one mile south of the Sugarlands Visitor Center.

All of the park's front and backcountry personnel will remain on alert for any new signs of the men. However, the hope is that they will turn up on their own or even at home said Smokies spokesman Bob Miller.

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