As the hours ticked by Friday, the search for missing father Ben Kilmer became more frightening for those who know and love him.

“Time is of the essence we’ve gotta get on the ground and find him,” said friend Tanya Durrance.

Friends describe Benjamin Kilmer, who is an electrician, loving husband and father of children aged seven and three, as dependable, outdoorsy and kind. How he disappeared is a complete mystery that searchers have not been able to solve.

“Nothing found, nothing further for us,” said Search Leader with Cowichan Search and Rescue Tina Philips.

“We are continuing to grid search an area that has been a high priority for us.

Searchers say Kilmer was last seen Wednesday morning, caught on surveillance video shortly before 11 a.m. at a job. Then his work van was found parked along Cowichan Lake Road, running, with no sign of Kimler. There was some worrying evidence inside.

“Nothing to us to indicate to us there was a struggle,” said Philips.

“But there was blood?” CHEK News asked her.

“Yes,” Philips replied.

RCMP are also investigating Kilmer’s disappearance and calls the case a “suspicious occurrence,” but friends are maintaining hope he will be found alive.

“We just want Ben to be found. Found safe,” said friend Tanis Ballard.

“We know the family and we’re just here to support them and get Ben home safe and sound,” said Tanya Durrance.

“I’m just gonna help out and do what I can,” said neighbour Robert McKenzie.

The volunteers who are searching for Kilmer are from around Vancouver Island, including many friends. All were fanning out to exhaustively search the area’s rugged forests, farm outbuildings and even drain a pond close by.”

“We’re gonna drain it so that we can say for absolute certain,” said Philips.

“We want to rule out places so that’s what we do.”

Kilmer’s family is appealing for more people to join in the search and scour the Cowichan River through the long weekend. It’s kilometres from where his van was found but they believe he may have wandered injured into the bush and ended up there.

Benjamin Kilmer is described by police as 5’7,” (170 centimetres)  205 pounds (93 kilograms) with short brown hair and blue eyes. He is clean shaven and was last seen wearing light-coloured pants, a black shirt and steel-toe work boots.

Anyone with information about Kilmer’s whereabouts is asked to call North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP at 250-748-5522 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

A Facebook group was also created to help coordinate the general public’s search and rescue efforts.

Ben Kilmer, 41, is from Cobble Hill.

Skye Ryan