Reporting Ron Jones
CITRUS HEIGHTS (CBS13) – A Citrus Heights man and his girlfriend have been missing since Thursday when they left the area on their way to her Nevada home, and search efforts Tuesday again yielded no signs of the couple.
Roderick Clifton, 44, and Paula Lane, 46, haven’t been seen since leaving Citrus Heights on Thursday on the way to Lane’s home in Gardnerville.
The last family and friends saw the couple was when they were at a Citrus Heights 7-Eleven filling up their tank.
It’s a desperate time for Lois Clifton as she waits to learn the fate of her son and his girlfriend. They’ve been dating since the summer.
“He left here on Thursday when he got finished and told me he would call me when he got over the summit, which means when he got to Paula’s house,” Lois said Monday.
Roderick’s family waited for the call.
“And I haven’t heard from him since,” she said.
They were on the road right before the storm hit. The couple usually travels on Highway 50 on the way to Nevada.
Was the driving rain and snow a factor? Lois fears the worst.
“Maybe they went off the side of the road somewhere, maybe laying in a ditch somewhere, a car rolled over or something, or maybe they were hurt or maybe dead,” she said.
The gut-wrenching wait and worry has been made even worse right before the holidays.
“I need to know if he’s alright or if I’ll ever see him again,” she said.
Throughout the weekend ground officers from the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department, Alpine County Sheriff’s Department and the California Highway Patrol, and the Douglas County County Sheriff’s Department in Nevada as well as families and friends of the missing pair searched their route for them.
On Monday, an aerial search with a CHP helicopter and searches of roads closed in the Sierra because of the snow were conducted but nothing turned up. Search efforts Tuesday also were unsuccessful and the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office said the search may be exhausted unless new information turns up.
Citrus Heights Police Department investigators have found no evidence of criminal activity or that Clifton and Lane have met with foul play. A search of credit card and cell phone activity has not produced any leads on their whereabouts.
The drive from Citrus Heights to Gardnerville is about 120 miles, a good portion of it on Highway 50, a steep and winding roadway through the Sierra.
“It can be pretty treacherous traveling that way,” Citrus Heights police Officer Bryan Fritsch said.
Calls to the cellphones of Clifton and Lane — who has two 11-year-old boys in Gardnerville — have gone answered. Both phones appear to be turned off. And with reception through the mountainous area spotty, investigators have been unable to electronically track the couple’s whereabouts, Fritsch said.
Anyone with information should call Citrus Heights Police at (916) 727-5500.