(Cross County, AR) The search for a missing Cross County deputy is on hold Saturday night due to bad weather, but will continue again Sunday morning.
Friday night at around 10:30p.m., authorities learned that Nick Swink, one of the Cross County auxiliary deputies had fallen over a bridge into the St. Francis River, near the Cross and St. Francis county line.
Swink had been a Wynne police officer for a few years, before joining the Cross County Sheriff’s Office just last week. In about a week, he’s due to become a full-time deputy.
Friends told News Channel 3 that Swink was with some friends at a favorite hang-out spot, on a bridge overlooking the St. Francis River.
One of them apparently heard a splash, then shined a flashlight over the edge. When they saw Swink, they yelled out to him, and they heard him respond for only a moment before he disappeared.
Arkansas State Police, St. Francis County Sheriff's Office, Cross County Sheriff's Office, Wynne Police Department, Arkansas Game and Fish, St. Francis County Search and Rescue, Newcastle Fire Department, Wynne Fire Department and Cross County Dive Team all worked together Saturday. An Arkansas State Police helicopter was also called in, but could not assist because of dense fog and low cloud cover.
Trey Gibson was not with Swink Friday night, but he immediately went to join the search party Saturday morning when he found out what happened.
“He was my best friend growing up. He still is. I believe he's still out there somewhere, and we're going to find him and bring him home, one way or another,” Gibson said.
The search was stopped from 6:30 to 11 a.m. Saturday morning, and stopped again Saturday just after 6p.m.
“It's tough thinking your best friend is out there. And right now we're not doing anything. We're waiting till tomorrow,” Gibson said.
He and others scaled the banks of the river Saturday, without finding any trace of Swink. Gibson was told he was wearing a dark green shirt, jeans, and flat-soled boots.
Gibson said Swink has been married for a little more than a year. They both graduated from Wynne High School, and Swink spent some time at Arkansas State University.
They’ve known each other since eighth grade.
“He's one of only a couple of people in my life I can sit down and talk to about anything,” he said.
It’s also personal for the Cross County Sheriff, J.R. Smith.
“It always makes it more difficult when it's one of your own,” Smith said. He’s also watched Swink grow up since he was a boy.
Despite worries over bad weather as time goes on, Smith said he’s still hoping for a good outcome.