Search intensifies for Peoria man last seen at Lake Pleasant

The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office says at this point, they don't believe there is any foul play involved in 34-year-old Joseph Casey's disappearance and are treating this as a missing persons case, but family and friends believe otherwise.

We spoke to a woman Casey was with at Lake Pleasant the day he went missing.

"Yeah, I think he's alive. He's too much of a tough cookie to not be alive," said Helena Ramirez.

Ramirez just recently met Casey, a Navy veteran who lives in Peoria. On June 21, the two of them took off in his Jeep and spent the day at the northern tip of Lake Pleasant, but the vehicle broke down and wouldn't start. Ramirez says he hitched a ride to get help.

"There's people at the top of the hill that were going to take him somewhere to get help, so he walked up there, came back down and said goodbye and took off," she said. "He made it sound like he was going to be back.. but he never showed back up."

She was able to find a ride to Casey's house. Ramirez says he was not there, then got in her own car and left. When she didn't hear from him the next day, she reported him missing.

MCSO impounded Casey's 2005 Jeep Wrangler.

Ramirez says Casey left his keys and bank card with her.

It has now been nearly a week since anyone has seen or heard from Joseph Casey. More than a dozen of his friends and volunteers are scouring the area at Lake Pleasant, where he was last seen.

"If he is still out there, he's going to be very dehydrated, probably won't be able to speak or move. It's really a matter of trying to locate him as soon as possible," said a friend of Casey, Will Rollins. "He was last wearing gray shorts and a t-shirt with red, white and blue stars and stripes on it. We're looking for anything -- any kind of clothing on trees or bushes where he may have taken refuge or something."

MCSO says its detectives are actively searching for Casey, using rescue and cadaver dogs, searching different areas, trying to track him down.

Casey did have his cell phone with him when he disappeared. He's described as a white male, 5' 8" tall, weighing 185 pounds with black hair and hazel eyes.

Anyone with information about this case is asked to call the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office at 602-876-TIPS (8477).