Family and friends of a Saco man, who disappeared in Portland’s Old Port early New Year’s Day, on Sunday combed the area where he was last seen and reached out on social media for help in their search for him.

Meanwhile, Saco police turned the case of James E. Dyer, 23, over to the department’s Criminal Investigation Division. Saco Police Chief Bradley Paul said Sunday his department is very concerned by the disappearance and Dyer’s failure to contact friends or family, use social media or answer his cellphone.

Dyer, who lives at 29 Pleasant Ave. in Saco, was last seen about 1:45 a.m. Friday as he and two friends left the Pearl nightclub on Fore Street. The three were out celebrating New Year’s Eve and had made an earlier stop at the Old Port Tavern on Moulton Street.

James E. Dyer

James E. Dyer

As Dyer’s disappearance stretched into a third day, his family said it is very unlike him to be out of touch.

“He is very savvy with his phone,” said his mother, Amy Dyer of Old Orchard Beach.

Saco police put out an alert to the public Saturday.

By Sunday morning, the Dyer home in Old Orchard Beach had been turned into search central by family and friends, who were following postings to news media comment boards to help them track leads. Tables at the Dyer home were piled high with casseroles and other food dropped off by well-wishers, while phones rang steadily in the background.

Amy Dyer said from what she has pieced together from her son’s friends, whose memories of the events are hazy, her son suddenly disappeared outside the Pearl nightclub when the streets were packed with New Year’s Eve revelers.

She said her son’s phone had gone dead earlier in the evening, so his friends yelled for him. They waited at their car, parked at the Union Wharf parking garage, for some time, but Dyer never showed up. She didn’t realize her son was missing until his roommate called her about 10 p.m. Friday to say he had not returned home. Dyer was reported missing to Saco police at 11 p.m. Friday, Paul said.

Amy Dyer said her son, known as “Jim” to his friends and “Jimmy” to his family, is very conscientious about remaining in contact. She said he is even more conscientious about showing up for work at his job as night operations manager at the Hannaford supermarket in Kennebunk, where he has rarely, if ever, missed a day of work.

The fact that he didn’t show up for his shift at 7 p.m. Saturday is very worrisome, she said.

The family said there have been several sightings of Jim Dyer since the alert went out, including one by a city bus driver who said he drove Dyer to Monument Square in Portland. Other reports have placed him in Auburn and Wells.

Paul said his department has had several leads to follow up on, none of which has resulted in locating Dyer. Portland police are working with Saco police to find Dyer.

On Sunday afternoon, Portland officers, along with the city’s fire boat and a Coast Guard vessel, conducted an extensive search of the waterfront, its piers and inlets, but could not find any sign of Dyer, according to Portland police Lt. Gary Hutcheson.

“We searched at the family’s request, but we are done for the day,” Hutcheson said Sunday evening.

James Dyer was last seen at about 1:45 a.m. Friday as he and his two friends left the Pearl nightclub on Fore Street.

James Dyer was last seen at about 1:45 a.m. Friday as he and his two friends left the Pearl nightclub on Fore Street.

Dyer’s family and friends went to the Old Port on Sunday morning to conduct their own search of the nearby waterfront. Amy Dyer said her son loved the water and boats.

She said police were trying to get video from the numerous surveillance cameras posted around the Old Port.

Saco police Sgt. Chris Hardiman said the nature of Dyer’s disappearance is serious.

“He is with a group of friends, and then he is missing. His family and friends and we have heard nothing of him,” Hardiman said.

Dyer is described as a 5-foot-9 white man, weighing about 190 pounds, with blue eyes, blond hair and facial hair. His ears are pierced with wooden disks called gauges. He was wearing a red flannel shirt, tan pants and L.L. Bean boots when he was last seen.

Dyer, a graduate of Old Orchard Beach High School, is an avid sports fan and likes to fish, his mother said.

She said her son is empathetic and the kind of person to hand out change to panhandlers.

“He is just the best kid, loved by so many people,” Amy Dyer said.

Anyone with information is asked to call Saco police at 284-4535.


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