Note: This story has been updated. Go to http://goo.gl/owOZn.
The Bannock County Sheriff's Department is investigating new leads in an effort to locate a missing man who was last seen on Saturday morning.
61 year-old Shelby Whitaker has worked for Whitaker Construction for the past 40 years and is described as someone who is consistent with his daily patterns. So his co-workers grew alarmed when he did not show up for work on Monday morning.
Capt. Kevin Fonnesbeck noticed tire tracks leading into the 12-foot deep Lava Hot Springs Sewer Plant where Whitaker was working before his disappearance. Officials believe his truck may have rolled into the water, and started draining the tank earlier this morning.
"The only thing we can confirm is that these tracks go in and there's definitely going to be a vehicle in there because it just wouldn't be able to pull out and go back up that slick tarp," Fonnesbeck said during this afternoon's press conference. "You can see where it goes right down into the water."
Within six hours of draining, the water level had only decreased by slightly more than two feet. Since the water is draining at a molasses-like rate, the Sheriff's Department will not be able to see if Whitaker's vehicle is at the bottom of the pond until early Wednesday morning.
Despite today's harsh weather conditions, officials say the biggest problem is the water itself.
"There's highly acidic water in there and it would be a hazard for any of us. You can't dive in there. You can't do anything. You have to wait until the water's out and then we have to actually use HAZMAT uniforms and everything because of the chemicals. They call it a bio-hazard environment," Fonnesbeck said when describing the conditions of the slow-draining tank Whitaker's vehicle is suspected to be at the bottom of.
Other search parties not associated with the Sheriff's Department were scheduled to take place this afternoon by the Lava Hot Springs pools, but then later called off due to unspecified reasons. Those individuals involved in orchestrating these search parties did not disclose any information about Whitaker or their relation to him.
Whitaker is 5'8" tall, weighing 180 to 190 pounds, with white hair, and blue eyes. He was believed to be driving a White Ford F 350 pickup truck with the Whitaker Construction company logo on the sides.
Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Bannock County Sheriff's Office at (208) 236-7123.