Clay County emergency responders are planning a major push today in the search for 59-year-old David Lee Box who has been missing since early New Year’s Day.

According to Clay County Sheriff Eddie Scott and Emergency Management Director Torrey Williams, a large rescue team has been assembled to scour flooded areas along Bill Dexter Road in what is known as McLemore Bottom between Lake Grove and Lake Lillie roads in the northern part of the county.

The area often is flooded along Houlka and Chuquatonchee creeks and their tributaries. Those high waters have made it difficult, even with boats and drones, for volunteers and rescue workers to get into some areas along the creeks.

But waters are supposed to have receded by today (Thursday), Scott said.

“The water should be down by Thursday. We are putting together a big crew to go in. We will either find him or know he is not in there,” Scott said before a planning meeting Wednesday afternoon. “We want this family to know something. It’s been awfully difficult for them, for everyone.”

Box was last seen at about 1 a.m. Jan. 1 leaving a residence to go to a relative’s home.

He never showed up but friends didn’t get too worried because of the holidays. But when he hadn’t been seen by the morning of Jan. 2, his wife, Emma, called the Sheriff’s Department, which began searching for him and his car.

His 2014 Dodge Avenger was found on a gravel road in a flooded area in McLemore Bottom. Deputies, West Point Fire and Rescue, Mississippi wildlife officers, other first responders and volunteers have been searching since then, even though hampered at times by weather and high waters.

The area often is flooded, especially at this time of year.

“It’s prone to flooding, you often can’t get through, most of the locals know that it’s the summer months many times before you can get down in there,” Scott said of the area.