A Palo Alto couple who rented a vacation home in Northern California on Feb. 14 mysteriously disappeared. Now authorities say the search has shifted from a rescue effort to a recovery mission.
Carol Kiparsky, 77, and Ian Irwin, 72, were last seen a week ago at a cottage getaway on Via de la Vista, up the mountain from Chicken Ranch Beach, the Marin County Sheriff's Office said.
The sheriff's office said in a statement Thursday that during searches, authorities received four independent alerts from cadaver K9 teams in the area of Shell Beach.
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"We believe that our extensive search efforts with every resource that has been available to us would have located Carol and Ian if they were responsive or in an area accessible by foot on land," the statement said. "We’ve worked tirelessly combing through all leads and areas surrounding the cottage they were vacationing at and are now calling this a recovery mission."
The sheriff's office said it will continue their search for the couple and have been in close touch with their family.
"Our thoughts are with the Kiparsky and Irwin family during this difficult time," the sheriff's office said.
The sheriff's office released plans for the next four days that include searches of Tomales Bay and the shoreline.
The couple never checked out of their rental cottage as scheduled on Saturday, the sheriff's office has said. They also missed an appointment Sunday, which the sheriff's office said "is highly out of character for them."
Housekeepers found all of their belongings still in the vacation cottage last weekend, including their cellphones, wallets and vehicle.
Irwin is a leading Parkinson’s disease researcher, according to the Marin Independent Journal. Kiparsky is a prominent linguist and author of several books on language.
Janelle Griffith is a breaking news reporter for NBC News.