Man Apologizes For Faking Marine Buddy's Disappearance, Setting Off Expensive Search

Saturday, March 17th 2007, 2:40 pm
By: News On 6

BOULDER, Colo. (AP) _ A man has apologized for sending hundreds of volunteers on a search for a friend who supposedly got lost but in fact had run away to avoid returning to his Marine unit.

The search last August and September for Lance Cpl. Lance Hering, 21, took five days and cost $33,000. Hering is still missing.

Steve Powers, 21, was convicted of misdemeanor false reporting and was ordered to write the apology, which he submitted to a court on Friday.

Hering, who was in a unit allegedly involved in the April 2005 shooting death of a 52-year-old Iraqi, was on leave from Camp Pendleton, Calif.

Powers has said Hering feared he would be harmed by members of his own unit, some of whom face murder charges in the Iraqi civilian's death.

``At the time, my No. 1 goal was that Lance not get killed, and from there I really don't know what to say,'' he said in the apology.

Powers initially reported that Hering had apparently wandered away after falling while rock climbing near Boulder.

He later admitted dropping Hering at a bus station in Denver hours before reporting him missing.

Powers also was ordered to serve 200 hours of community service and pay the cost of the search. A deferred sentence for a prior felony attempted-burglary charge was revoked because of the new violation, meaning he now is a convicted felon.