The search for a man who vanished after he was seen leaving a South Jersey bar three weeks ago has involved drones, underwater sonar equipment, and police dogs, scouring woods, lakes, and creeks.
But police have found no trace of Lance James, 29, who disappeared without his cellphone and has not used his debit card since, according to police in Clementon, the Camden County borough of 5,000 where James lives.
"This is the longest we've ever had someone missing like this," police investigator Shaun McCann said. "It's concerning."
James' family said he had never run away before.
"We absolutely suspect foul play," sister Jessica Hassan said. "He is not the type to just run or disappear."
James' mother has searched nearby woods and parks, said Hassan, a Virginia resident. She said the family is concerned that someone knows something but has not come forward.
Police are considering all possibilities.
James was last seen Dec. 2, when Clementon police responded to the Hideaway Tavern in the 200 block of White Horse Avenue around 9:45 p.m. McCann said that an altercation had unfolded between James and a patron, possibly because of name-calling between James and a woman, and that James was removed from there.
When officers arrived, they saw him bleeding from his nose and right eye, McCann said. James and the other person in the altercation declined to press charges. James also declined medical treatment before walking away on the sidewalk along White Horse Avenue.
That was the last known sighting, McCann said.
One of his roommates initially believed he had come home, but the family later discovered that James' phone was still at the bar, Hassan said. They reported him missing Dec. 8. He missed his birthday Dec. 10.
Authorities have searched Bottom Lake and Silver Lake, both within a 15-minute walk from the bar, and on Thursday used drones to search nearby woods.
"This case is a mystery," McCann said. "And any idea that anyone has, we're really looking into."
Hassan said that her brother is a former Marine and that it was unlikely he intentionally disappeared.
"When he got to a point where he felt like he couldn't cope with life, he always turned to us to talk or vent to," she said. "I could never imagine him walking away from family."
Authorities often find bodies quickly if foul play is involved.
Brendan Link Creato, 3, was found several hours after his father - who has since been charged with murder - reported him missing in Haddon Township in 2015. Fatima Perez, 41, was found two days after her family reported her missing in Camden in 2014. Police said her landscaper had kidnapped and buried her alive.
Anyone with information in James' case is urged to call Clementon police at 856-783-2759.