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Searchers comb areas near trail for signs of missing Alexandria teen

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A wooded area between Birch Avenue and Elmwood Drive, which is east of where Jasmine Block went missing, was searched Wednesday morning by a group of volunteers from fire departments around the county. Wade Lerfald with the Douglas County Sheriff's Office led the group. Celeste Edenloff | Forum News Service2 / 4
Jasmine Block has been missing since late Tuesday, Aug. 8. Submitted photo3 / 4
Wade Lerfald with the Douglas County Sheriff's Office and volunteers from the fire departments around Douglas County regroup before heading out to search another area for Jasmine Block, the 15-year-old girl who has been missing since Aug. 8. (Celeste Edenloff | Forum News Service4 / 4

ALEXANDRIA, Minn.—Law enforcement officials and volunteers spent Wednesday, Aug. 23, searching for any sign of missing Alexandria 15-year-old Jasmine Block.

"The idea is to be complete and thorough with canvassing, to try and cover every possibility we possibly can to get clues as to where Jasmine's whereabouts could be," said Alexandria Police Chief Rick Wyffels.

Jasmine was last seen Aug. 8 at her home on North McKay Avenue in Alexandria.

More than 50 volunteers from fire departments within Douglas County helped in the search Wednesday morning, said Sgt. Wade Lerfald with the Douglas County Sheriff's Office.

Lerfald's group of volunteers searched a wooded area between Birch Avenue South and Elmwood Drive, which is north of the Central Lakes Trail and east of the mobile home park where she was last seen.

Jasmine used the trail frequently, according to her mother, Sarah Block.

According to Wyffels, a foot search is being conducted where possible. Drones are also being used in the areas that are more difficult to search by foot.

"Some areas are very heavily wooded and there's water, so we're doing the best we can to canvass that," he said. "We're sending up some drones, and a couple volunteers are pretty competent with those."

The volunteers started searching at about 8 a.m. Wednesday and Lerfald was anticipating they would be done in the afternoon. However, Wyffels says that if need be, the search could expand into Thursday.

"We're just going through with a comb and making sure that everything that is reasonable is searched," Wyffels said. "Everyone is still pulling in the same direction and working hard on it."

Recently, the search for Jasmine has gained national attention, as NBC covered it. Her family hopes this can get the word out to a wider area and possibly lead to locating Jasmine.

Jasmine is described as white with a tan complexion, 5-foot-1, 110 lbs, with brown curly hair. According to fliers, she has a recent bruise near the right side of her ribcage, scars on her left arm, a scar on her left ankle and a mole on her left cheek. She was last seen wearing black and red pajama pants and a top.

She was last seen in her home, about 10:30 p.m. Aug. 8. Jasmine's cell phone was left behind, according to her mother.

An alert from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension states that Jasmine has cognitive disabilities that make her vulnerable.

A $2,000 reward is being offered by Jasmine's family for her safe return. Anyone who knows of Jasmine's whereabouts or sees her is asked to call the Alexandria Police Department at 320-763-6631 or call 911.

Beth Leipholtz

Beth is a reporter at the Echo Press. She graduated from the College of Saint Benedict in May 2015 with a degree in Communication and Hispanic Studies. Journalism has always been her passion, but she also enjoys blogging and graphic design. In her spare time, she's most likely at Crossfit or at home with her boyfriend and three dogs.

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