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Search for missing owner of Avalon Gardens takes to the air

Published: Mon, October 3, 2011 @ 12:01 a.m.

Staff report


An Ohio State Highway Patrol helicopter came to the city to perform an aerial search for James Donofrio, the missing owner of the Avalon Gardens bar and restaurant, but a strong river current kept search divers away from the Mahoning River on Sunday.

“You can’t fight that current,” said Capt. William Hack, commander of the Mahoning County Sheriff’s Office dive team, which last searched the river on Thursday between the Market Street and South Avenue bridges.

If the rain stops and the river level falls, Hack said he hopes divers can return to the water today or Tuesday.

When the current is fast, divers are swept along with it and can’t thoroughly examine everything in the river, Hack said. The river is filled with debris, including tree branches and litter, he observed. “We pulled a safe out Thursday,” Hack said.

“There’s so much debris in there that he could be snagged on anything” if he is in the river, Hack said of Donofrio.

Donofrio, 64, of Boardman, has been missing since he didn’t show up as scheduled at the Avalon Gardens to close the establishment on Sept. 25.

Early on Sept. 26, a railroad employee spotted a man resembling Donofrio along the river bank, and Donofrio’s SUV was found under the Market Street bridge.

Search and rescue dogs and a fire department boat assisted in the search last week.


1carago11(44 comments)posted 4 years, 9 months ago

Why wasn't an aerial search done in the first couple of days? 8 days later?? I am upset about this....and the weather will be a factor too now. I hope your OK Jimmy!

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2tania(5 comments)posted 4 years, 9 months ago

is this a place he would visit or is it unual for him to be in this area

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3tania(5 comments)posted 4 years, 9 months ago

they just said no foul play was involved and i was curios why he would even be in that area

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4stacey2001(2 comments)posted 4 years, 9 months ago

Because this is the area where his vehicle was found with his wallet and cell phone, etc inside and a train conductor stated a man fitting his description was seen there.

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5BusDriver(46 comments)posted 4 years, 9 months ago

I'm just wondering if he had more blackouts than he told the family... or if he was fighting depression more than he was telling his family. Very sad and I hope they find him soon for his family. And when the conductor saw him on the tracks who says there wasn't someone forcing him in the shadows to walk those tracks just all too suspicious.

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6Stan(9923 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

Was James Donofrio a victim of the underworld because he knew too much and was being difficult ?

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7southsidedave(5189 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

Another mystery in Youngstown

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