Search and rescue teams stumped after day-long search for missing couple in Marin

An all-out search Monday for a missing couple on the Marin coast failed to find any trace of them. 

Carol Kiparsky is 77 and husband Ian Irwin, 72. They are from Palo Alto but were visiting Inverness, as they have before, when they disappeared. 

"It's a mystery, it really is a mystery," said Fire Captain Burton Eubank, of the Inverness Volunteer Fire Dept. 

The couple was last seen late Friday afternoon, walking near the cottage they had rented.  

But their hiking boots and packs were still in the vacation rental, suggesting it wasn't to be a long or arduous hike. 

"It turns out they may have been mushroom hunters," said Eubank, who is an Inverness native familar with the area trails, marked or not, and the cliffs where someone might slip.

Monday, eight tracking dogs were given the couple's scent. They did hit on a few spots, but none panned out. 

"There was no evidence of clothing or drag marks or anything we would consider viable," said Eubank. "And every one of these places became so thick it was basically impenetrable at a certain point."

At dusk, search and rescue teams ended their effort. 

They had scoured the woods, ravines, and beaches, on foot and horseback, with drones and helicopters overhead, divers, jetskis and boats on Tomales Bay. 

Almost 140 specially-trained volunteers fanned out over an area three-miles long. 

"A lot of teams were on their bellies, crawling through brush," said Mike St. John, head of Marin Search and Rescue, in charge of the operation. "Our goal was, if they were out there and lost and still responsive that we would have easily heard voice calls and gotten people into the nooks and crannies."  

Also left behind in the Airbnb: the couple's luggage, wallets, and cell phones. 

When they didn't check out as scheduled Saturday, and their belongings were discovered, it raised red flags. 

"We're following up on leads and our detectives went to Palo Alto to their residence and to speak with family," said Sgt. Brenton Schneider
of the Marin County's Sheriff''s Dept. 

"Their personal effects were left here, the car was still there, so that leads us to believe they're still in the area, we just don't know where."

The couple's last text to family members was Friday- confirming plans for Sunday- that they missed. 

"They are old enough that they probably didn't go as far as we searched, " said Eubank. 

Tuesday's search will scale back and refocus around the rental, looking for gaps in the grid, places that might have been overlooked. 

"We have to check every possibility and we're not going to leave any stone unturned until we can find this couple," said Eubank. 

The sheriff's department says it is keeping in close touch with loved ones of Kiparsy and Irwin.

Some relatives are staying in the area, and others are arriving from out of state Tuesday, as the search continues.