June 23rd, 2009
05:53 AM ET
13 years ago

Sanford hiking Appalachian Trail, his office says

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/04/06/art.sanfordcu0406.gi.jpg caption="South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford mysteriously disappeared last Thursday."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Mark Sanford's office is now saying that the South Carolina governor is hiking the Appalachian trail.

In a late Monday e-mail to reporters, Sanford spokesman Joel Sawyer apologized "for taking so long to send this update," explaining that he "was waiting to see if a more definitive idea of what part of the Trail he was on before we did so."

The Appalachian trail stretches from Georgia to Maine.

Sanford has been mysteriously absent for four days, setting the South Carolina political world abuzz with chatter about why he left and where he went. Even his wife Jenny told reporters she didn't know of his location.

State Sen. Jake Knotts, a fellow Republican and opponent of Sanford, told CNN that South Carolina law enforcement officials informed him Saturday that the governor had taken a South Carolina Law Enforcement Division SUV last Thursday and had not yet returned.

"I found out that he was taking frequent trips at odd times of the night in a SLED car with no security," Knotts said. "He would be driving. I got wind that he had taken another one of these types of capers last Thursday, and that nobody knew who he was with."

Knotts said a SLED official told him on Monday that Sanford still had not returned.

Sawyer stressed that Sanford's wife and staff are not concerned about the governor.

"As we said earlier today, it isn't unusual for the governor to be out of pocket for several days after the legislative session," he said. "We knew he would be difficult to reach, and that he would be checking in infrequently. Given the media attention this has generated, we'll obviously update you once we have some more specifics to pass along."

Filed under: Mark Sanford
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