HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - The family of missing 19-year-old Zack Malinowski is now offering a $2,500 cash reward for anyone who can provide a direct location or information that leads to his whereabouts.
Lonnie Jordan, the Aynor teen's stepfather, told WMBF News the reward is being offered with no questions asked, and will expire on October 15. Anyone with information is asked to contact the CUE Center for Missing Persons at 910-232-1687 and/or the Horry County Police Department at 843-915-5350.
The family is distributing flyers with this new information this week, and will be focusing on area where hunters go.
On Sunday, September 15, three weeks after Malinowski went missing, a candlelight vigil was held in his honor.
The vigil was held at 7 p.m. at Aynor Park off Main Street in Aynor.
Earlier this month, a spokesperson for the center said more help is coming to the ground search team: ATVs, searchers on horseback, and a team from Texas was expected to assist the search.
Teams continued to search into the night for Malinowski, who was last seen on Sunday, August 25 in Aynor. The Horry County Police Department is still investigating.
On Tuesday, September 10, three CUE searchers, a K-9, and a volunteer on horseback searched through a wooded area off 701 in the Aynor/Conway area. Malinowski's stepfather was also out there, and he says he remains hopeful that the team will be able to find Zack and bring closure to him and Zack's mother.
Christy Davis, spokeswoman for the CUE Center for Missing Persons, said as the search enters its 13th day, more help is coming on ATV's, horseback, and on the ground. She said a team is expected to come in from Texas and be on the ground to help assist in the search.
On the night of Monday, September 2, the purple 1996 Chevrolet Beretta he was last seen driving was found burned on Valley Forge Road, near Aynor, confirmed Lt. Robert Kegler with the Horry County Police Department. Detectives are still following leads concerning his whereabouts.
"Since he went missing, I haven't worked since," said Lonnie Jordan, Zack's stepfather. "This is day twelve that he's been missing."
Since the discovery of the car, CUE Center for Missing Persons founder Monica Caison has ramped up search efforts and called in more teams, hopeful Zack may be nearby.
"I definitely think we're in the right area," Caison said. "We're just not there yet. We're trying the best we can to eliminate space, but we don't want to miss anything."
The investigation was initiated on Wednesday when family members reported Malinowski missing, according to a news release from the HCPD. He was last seen near Seventh Avenue in Aynor wearing a red shirt, black gym shorts, and either black and white flip-flops or a pair of Air Jordans.
Malinowski's mother, Melissa Jordan, said her son was playing basketball with a friend in Aynor. Jordan said her son then went to a friend's house for a while. Next, Jordan said her son told the friend he was leaving to get something to eat. That was the last time anyone has reported seeing Malinowski.
Horry County Police said because of the circumstances, and Malinowski is not reaching any of his friends or family members, the case is suspicious.
Jordan is pleading for the public's help in finding her son.
"If I could just get everybody else searching and looking," Jordan said through tears.
Jordan said it is unlike her son to leave home for any period of time and not let anyone know, especially several days.
"I know my baby would've called by now if he could. I know he would 'cuz he was never ever away from home and didn't call somebody," Jordan said, "and I know if he could. I know if he could he would call us right now."
Malinowski's friend, Samantha Hopkins said Malinowski texted her Sunday night around midnight. Hopkins was sleeping so she didn't see the text messages until Monday. Hopkins said she attempted to call and text Malinowski, but was unable to reach him.
"I was like this is crazy. He was always the type of person to have his phone," Hopkins said.
But Hopkins said another one of their mutual friend's also was unable to reach Malinowski.
"I texted his best friend Shakeem and he hadn't heard from him either so I knew something was wrong," Hopkins said.
Malinowski is 6'1" and weighs approximately 150 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes.
If you know where Malinowski is, please call detectives at 915-5350 or 915-TIPS.