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Sonar to be used in search for missing Kentville man


Valley Search and Rescue volunteers work along the shore of the Cornwallis River in Kentville on Thursday during the fourth day of a search for a missing North Kentville man. Joshawa Bentley, 29, hasn’t been seen since Saturday night. Ian Fairclough
Valley Search and Rescue volunteers work along the shore of the Cornwallis River in Kentville on Thursday during the fourth day of a search for a missing North Kentville man. Joshawa Bentley, 29, hasn’t been seen since Saturday night. Ian Fairclough

Sonar equipment will be used on the Cornwallis River on Saturday in the search for a missing North Kentville man.

Joshawa Bentley, 29, hasn’t been seen since he left the Kings Arms pub in Kentville at 10:30 p.m. last Saturday.

Search leader Const. Chris Burke with the Kentville Police Service said members of the Canadian Armed Forces’ Fleet Diving Unit were going to assist with the search Friday, but water levels and a lack of good access to the water prevented that. They are going to get on the river early Saturday morning.

Burke said divers can’t enter the dangerous waters of the river, which is murky, has strong currents and contains fallen trees. The tidal river flows to the Minas Basin.

He said police were plagued for a second day by false rumours that a body had been found. He said the most recent ones seemed to stem from police heading to a bridge over the river in New Minas after someone reported seeing someone in the water.

It turned out to be a chunk of ice but the presence of the police at the bridge had some people saying someone had been found in the river. Burke reiterated that police will release any new information and the department should be considered the only credible source on social media.

He said police still want any tips.

“I’d rather someone call so we can verify what they see,” he said.

Security footage from an exterior camera at the Kentville Justice Centre shows a person police are certain is Bentley walking alongside the building in the direction of the river near the Cornwallis Street bridge.

Burke said the search is still considered a missing person case.

Police have said it’s unusual for Bentley to be out of contact with friends and family and that there is no indication of foul play.

Ground search and rescue personnel, firefighters, a police dog and a Department of Land and Forestry helicopter have been involved in the search this week.

Bentley is white with a reddish-brown full beard and hair. He is six-foot-one and weighs 120 pounds, and has three tattoos: one on his right forearm that reads, “sometimes you have to go through hell to get to Heaven,” one of a handprint on his chest, and one of the Browning logo on the back of his right shoulder.

Police released a photo of Bentley from Saturday night at the pub, showing him wearing a red and black checked flannel shirt with a black printed shirt underneath, and jeans.

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