POLICE say the disappearance of a York man who has been missing for more than a week has left them mystified as divers began searching the swollen River Ouse.
Chris Baker, 29, from Albemarle Road, has not been seen since he abandoned his car in the city centre and jumped over the wall of Skeldergate Bridge, after gesturing to a woman in the vehicle behind him.
At the time he vanished, he was driving to his job as an accountant for the City Healthcare Partnership at Hull Royal Infirmary.
Heavy rain and rising river levels meant North Yorkshire Police could not start scouring the Ouse until yesterday and further searches of the water will now have to wait until at least Monday as the river is expected to rise again this weekend.
The force said there are still no clues about why Mr Baker disappeared and his behaviour was “completely out of character”. But officers vowed to keep searching for answers for his “very worried” family.
Mr Baker was last seen at about 7.15am on Thursday, December 20, when he left his grey Renault Megane on Skeldergate Bridge and jumped over the wall into Tower Gardens.
Four divers from Humberside Police’s marine unit used sonar equipment along the Ouse between Naburn and the city centre yesterday in the latest stage of the search.
Inspector Neil Wood said: “The nature of Mr Baker’s disappearance means the possibility that he has somehow gone into the river is an obvious line of investigation, although we are keeping an open mind.
“We have followed other lines but have drawn a blank, which is why we are now focusing more on the river.
“Unfortunately, the weather means the Ouse has been against us since day one, and we are doing everything we can with the river search until its levels recede again.
“Mr Baker has disappeared in very strange circumstances and it’s very rare we deal with a disappearance where there is absolutely no known reason behind the missing person’s behaviour.
"Nobody we have spoken to knows any reason why he might have gone missing, and as well as appealing for information about where he might be, we need anybody who might have information about his history and which might give us a clue – even if they are unsure of its significance – to contact us.”
Inspector Wood spoke to Mr Baker’s family yesterday. He said: “It’s obviously an extremely difficult time for them and they have had no contact with him since he disappeared and they are very worried.
“We just want to be able to give them answers and we will not stop until we find out what has happened to him.”
Mr Baker is white, slim, about 5ft 9ins tall, with curly, dark-brown hair. He was wearing a striped work shirt when he was last seen. Anybody with information should phone 101.