Search for man missing in Grampians after posting 'selfie'

Police and family are searching for a Keilor Downs man who has not been seen since posting a 'selfie' on Facebook in the Grampians several days ago.

Fifty-year-old Julio Ascui, also known as Lester, was reported missing after failing to contact family members since his social media post on Friday.

His car was located by family members at a car park on the corner of Stoney Creek Road and Rosea Track in Halls Gap at 5pm on Sunday.

Police believe the car has been parked there since Friday.

His daughter, Jessica Ascui Ordonez, told reporters at Halls Gap on Tuesday her father was avid hiker and rock climber and his disappearance was out of character.

"He contacts us a lot," she said. "It's not normal for him to not tell anyone [where he is] or not to go online and post more photos."

She said the family would not stop searching until they found him.

"I have to stay strong to keep going out there."

Twenty eight family members, friends and SES workers were on Tuesday conducting a line search in an area near a creek and where Mr Ascui had parked his car.

Samantha Hanna, Mr Ascui's cousin, said that his children, Joshua and Jessica, were exhausted but handling the search well.

"They have been co-operating with the SES and have had a sensible mindset ... they have not stopped working since they went up there to look for him," she said.

The search is taking its toll and his son and daughter are just absolutely worried to death about him. They don't know if it's a fall or a snake bite."

"He is not silly; he is fit, strong, that's why we are so worried."

Ms Hanna said her cousin loves the outdoors, using every public holiday and weekend to trek on walks across the state.

She said relatives in Chile first became concerned when they didn't receive a phone call from him on New Year's Eve - and then were unable to contact any Australian family members because they were out searching for Mr Ascui.

Another cousin, Luis Ascui, said the family hoped the police's canine unit could help point the search in the right direction on Wednesday.

"We're trying to put the emotion aside otherwise you can't function and we need to keep searching for him," he said.

"It's so hard. Yesterday, I was by myself looking, and I kept shouting out his name and that's emotional because you're hearing your own voice echo back to you and then nothing."

"People have come out of worst situations though and you just can't lose hope that he is alive out there and that we will find him."

Halls Gap police Sergeant Karen Baine said the area where the father-of-two went missing is harsh terrain.

"No one knows what he has with him, what his intentions were or where he is," she said.

"So as the days go on obviously we have grave concerns for his welfare."

Mr Ascui is described as 165cm tall, bald, medium build and tanned appearance.

He was last seen wearing a blue and white weatherproof jacket with a blue T-shirt and a brown baseball cap.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Halls Gap Police Station on 5356 4411.


This story Search for man missing in Grampians after posting 'selfie' first appeared on The Age.