URBANA — Police and divers were searching Crystal Lake on Friday as part of their efforts to find a Champaign man who has been missing since the day after Thanksgiving.
Renard Jackson, 49, has been missing from his home in the 1500 block of Holly Hill Drive since Nov. 26. His family reported him missing on the following Monday, Nov. 28.
On Friday, a dive team from the Vermilion County sheriff’s department was searching Crystal Lake, although police “don’t have any specific reason to believe he’s here,” according to Champaign police Lt. Joe Gallo.
Police don’t believe he is missing of his own accord because he is one of two primary caretakers for his disabled stepdaughter and her children and because his wallet and bicycle were found about two blocks from his home, near Hedge Road and Summerlin Lane, on the Tuesday after his disappearance, leading police to believe he may have been the victim of foul play.
On Friday, Gallo, noting that the Vermilion County group is “a very experienced dive team,” said the search at Crystal Lake “is just a process of elimination.”
He said the dive team also searched on Thursday. The Vermilion County Emergency Management Association and Urbana police also were helping in the search. The Vermilion County group used "special sonar equipment to search certain bodies of water for signs of evidence."
Police have used a helicopter and tracking dogs this week in their search for Jackson, including a search of the Garden Hills neighborhood where Jackson last was seen. Last week, they searched ditches and culverts along county roads.
“This is just a continuation of our search,” Gallo said. “We’re still aggressively pursuing any leads.”
He said there was no specific tip about Jackson being in Crystal Lake.
Police continue to ask the public for help in finding the man, by calling Champaign police at 351-4545 or anonymously to Crimestoppers at 373-TIPS (373-8477). Anonymous tips also can be left at Crimestoppers' website  or sent via text message, by sending Tip397 plus the message to 274637.