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Niagara County Sheriff Thomas A. Beilein said Friday he has halted the active search for a 79-year-old man missing since Wednesday.

Robert H. Brandel of Lockport Avenue has been the focus of an intense air, land and water search since he was reported missing by his family members at 9 p.m. Wednesday, said Beilein.

A dispatcher for the county said the search will resume if anyone calls the Sheriff's Department with a solid lead. Anyone with information is asked to call the department at 438-3393.

Brandel's wife, Marian, said she last saw him raking leaves in their back yard at noon on Tuesday.

There is no fence in the back yard, which abuts Tonawanda Creek. Police believe Brandel might have fallen into the creek. Niagara County sheriff's deputies, a team of divers, and dozens of volunteer firefighters have been searching the area.

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