By Mike Bedigan, PA Los Angeles Correspondent
Authorities have vowed to “bring closure” to the family of Julian Sands, after further ground searches over the weekend yielded no results.
The San Bernardino sheriff’s department said an imminent storm in the region meant that search efforts would now be delayed “for some time”.
The British actor was first reported missing in the Mounty Baldy area of the San Gabriel mountains more than five weeks ago, after failing to return from a hike.
Numerous searches have already taken place on foot and by air, with both state and federal agencies using special technology to help pinpoint a more accurate location to focus their efforts.
A spokesperson for the sheriff’s department told the PA news agency that ground searches – which had been recently hampered by poor conditions on the mountain – had taken place on Saturday.
“On February 18, over 20 members of the Fontana Sheriff’s Station and the West Valley Search and Rescue team conducted a ground search in the Mt Baldy area,” the spokesperson said.
“The crew members focused on the area where the California Highway Patrol’s Recco device hit on a possible electronic device on January 25.
“Unfortunately, nothing was found that would lead to the discovery of Mr Sands.
“With the imminent storm approaching, ground searches for Mr Sands will be delayed for some time.
“Our goal is to bring closure to the family of Mr Sands and when we can, we will try this again.”
The sheriff’s department previously said it remained “hopeful” of finding the actor, but admitted that the outcome of the searches may now “not be what we would like”.
Three weeks ago, Sands’ hiking partner and friend Kevin Ryan told PA it was obvious “something has gone wrong”, but that the actor’s advanced experience and skill would “hopefully” see his safe return.
The actor’s family previously praised the “heroic” efforts of Californian authorities involved in the searches, and were “deeply touched” by the support they had received.
“Our heartfelt thanks to the compassionate members of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department who are coordinating the search for our beloved Julian, not least the heroic search teams…who are braving difficult conditions on the ground and in the air to bring Julian home,” the statement read.
“We are deeply touched by the outpouring of love and support.”
Sands is best known for his starring roles in films such as Warlock, Room With A View and Leaving Las Vegas. On television he found fame with parts in Smallville and 24.