Search Resumes For Man Who Jumped From Bridge

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(KTVI) - The family of a missing man plead with him to call home.  He was last seen jumping off the Meramec River, allegedly to avoid a police traffic stop.

One distraught local family says that Missouri State Highway Patrol Troopers spent the morning looking for Jeff Henning.  He is described as tall, white male with short blonde hair and blue eyes.   The Missouri State Highway Patrol said they need to find the man before they can announce a positive identification.

Police continued to search for a suspect who jumped off the Meramec River Bridge early Wednesday morning.

"I would want him to call me as soon as he could so I know that he's safe and everything's okay,” said Jeff’s mother, Mary Henning.  “And, I just want him to know that I love him he's my son."

The highway patrol said they do not know why the man troopers pulled over on the bridge would jump.  Henning’s family said they do not know, either.  They admit he has had issues in the past.  They would not say if those issues were criminal or had to do with his mental health.  They just said he was getting better.

“It's been many, like 7 or 8 years, before he's had any issues,” said Henning’s sister, Amy Davis.  “He's been really good.  He's really turned his life around.  I just want him to be safe.  I'm praying.  He's very resourceful.  He's in the woods all the time.  He's a great swimmer.  So, I am praying that he's made it out and he's going to find some way to contact us and let us know he's okay."

The Missouri State Highway Patrol said troopers pulled over a man for speeding on Highway 21 near Highway 141 in South St. Louis County.  While they walked to the car, the man ran, and then jumped off the bridge.

So the patrol called for help from St. Louis County just before 1:45 a.m.  Officers shut down the bridge.  County police and Mehlville Fire and Rescue brought their boats.   Metro air support helicopters searched the water using infrared cameras.

Troopers called off their search when a storm rolled in before 6 a.m.  They resumed two hours later, while Henning’s family stood on the banks of the Meramec and held each other.

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