MOREHEAD CITY, N.C. (WNCT) — The search for Joshua Clauson, the man who went missing in the Croatan National Forest last Saturday has been suspended, officials with the Carteret County Sheriff’s Office said Thursday night.

The search, which stretched into its sixth day, was suspended just after 6 p.m. Thursday.

Sheriff Asa Buck asks the general public not to search as they could get themselves lost.

“The search area proved to be challenging due to the extremely dense vegetation,” said Carteret County Sheriff Asa Buck. “Arial searches were severely limited due to the thick canopy making it impossible to see the ground throughout most of the area. Dense vegetation made it difficult for search teams to move throughout the area while conducting their searches as well as limiting their visibility on the ground level.”

Carteret County deputies and search teams continued to search 15 square miles of Croatan National Forest by ground and air for Clauson, 20, who went missing on Saturday. Clauson, of 1202 Lake Road, Lake Road MHP, failed to return from a walk in the Croatan National Forest on Saturday.

Family members reported Clauson entered the woods with a relative around 10 a.m. on Saturday at the rear of the mobile home park off Lake Road.

The Sheriff’s Office was assisted by dozens of agencies from Carteret County and across the state.

More than 200 trained search and rescue professionals assisted with the search for Joshua Kenneth Clauson in the Croatan National Forest, between Lake Road and Rams Horn Road, and the Carteret-Craven County line. The search teams utilized special technology to aid in the search and were assisted by several K9 handlers.

Aerial searches were conducted by NC Wildlife airplane and the NC Highway Patrol helicopter as well as aerial drone

Clauson is described as 5-foot-10-inch-tall white man, with red hair and brown eyes. According to a family member, Clauson was reported to be wearing a khaki tank top and blue jeans on the day he went missing.

While the search has been suspended, this missing person case remains active and anyone with information is asked to notify the Carteret County Sheriff’s Office at (252) 728-8400 or Carteret County Communications at (252) 726-1911.