An 18-year-old youth from Anilnatham habitation in Gundri panchayat in Sathyamangalam taluk who was returning from a temple to his house lost his way inside the forest area of Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve (STR) and went missing on September 25.
Villagers said M. Ganesh, along with four others, went to the Perumal temple located inside the forest area at Ekkarai on Sunday. After prayers, all the five were returning when Ganesh lost his way and could not be traced.
Four others who returned to the village alerted the family of Ganesh and other villagers who searched for him for two days. On Tuesday, Kadambur Forest Range in Sathyamangalam Division was alerted and forest personnel carried out a search operation.
Villagers said one has to traverse nine kilometres on foot inside the jungle to reach the temple where wild animals are present in large numbers.
Forest officials said the right way was located in Kadambur Forest Range while the temple was located in T.N. Palayam Range. But, added that permission was obtained only for four persons to visit the temple and the youth was taken without permission. Search operations continued while the family lodged a complaint with the Kadambur police on Wednesday.