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Breaking News: Local Man Missing

The man went for a hike at Wilderness Park on Wednesday and hasn't been seen since.

On Wednesday, Francis Netto, 56, left his home on Bernard Circle to hike along a trail in Wilderness Park. It's something he does a couple times a month at the park on Morris Bridge Road, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.

But his family has not seen or heard from him since he left, the sheriff's office says. His car was found at the park, and deputies are searching the wooded area of the park now with help of a K-9 unit and the aviation unit.

Netto is described as a white male, 5'11 and 160 pounds. He has a medium build, gray hair and blue eyes. The sheriff’s office is asking anyone who might have seen Netto to call 813-247-8200, or 1-800-873-TIPS.

Update: Deputies are expanding the search for Francis Netto and establishing a command post at Wilderness Park, according to Deputy Larry McKinnon.

"With nightfall approaching, deputies want to be on scene as the darkness adds another dimension and challenge to the search efforts," McKinnon said. "While Mr. Netto is an experienced hiker, it is out of character for him to be gone for an extended period of time without communicating with his family."

The area being searched consists of thousands of acres of dense woods,
swamps and miles of river banks. If Netto is not found by nightfall, the full force search effort will begin Friday at sunrise.

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