LAFAYETTE -- A sixth day of searching in and around Chico turned up no sign of a missing Lafayette college student as of Saturday evening.
But the lack of news did not dampen the spirits of his father, nor those of an explosively growing and creative social media movement aimed at raising awareness and support of search efforts.
"We have not lost any enthusiasm," said Michael Olson, whose 20-year-old son Brett went missing last Sunday at an annual Labor Day tubing event on the Sacramento River. "We think we're going to find him."
The Acalanes High graduate who once worked as a lifeguard, was last seen on Beer Can Beach near Hamilton City around 4 p.m. last Sunday. He was reported missing the following day.
"The search continues out on the river," said Michael Olson, who with his wife Elizabeth is staying in the Chico area. "The authorities, over the last week, have had airplanes with infrared sensors, helicopters, multitudes of boats, feet on the ground looking at islands in the area. They've had water dogs and sonar. I'm happy when they don't find anything and can concentrate on other areas where he might be alive."
Authorities have told Elizabeth Olson that they consider it unlikely that Brett is in the river.
Friends of Olson, a Cal Poly San Luis Obispo student, have started a Facebook page, Let's Bring Brett Home, which by Saturday had attracted more than 89,000 followers. Dozens of Twitter users, using the hash tag
One, in a tweet to Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, a Chico native, wrote: "If you could please help us spread the word! Your voice is = to a million of ours."
There are indications the internet campaign is leading to action.
A reward for information leading to the safe return of Brett Olson has grown to $50,000. Another fund was established at Wells Fargo Bank to help the Olson family defray the cost of the search. An all-day fundraiser will be held Monday at Chow restaurant in Lafayette, with 15 percent of all proceeds going to the fund.
A missing person flyer was shown on the Memorial Stadium scoreboard during Saturday's Cal football game. Michael Olson said dozens of volunteers have traveled to Chico to aid in the search.
"We've had numerous people come up here unsolicited looking for him," said Michael Olson, who credits Shane Wright, Brett's childhood friend, with organizing the volunteers. "They've been meeting once or twice a day. He's been putting maps together. I've gone to a couple of the meetings. There are least 60 or 70 kids waiting to go. The city is inundated with information. The support has been truly overwhelming."
Brett Olson is 6-foot-1, 170 pounds with dark brown hair and hazel eyes. Anyone with information on his whereabouts can call 1-800-464-4748, or the Glenn County Sheriff's Office at 530-934-6441.
Contact Gary Peterson at 925-952-5053. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/garyscribe. Chico Enterprise-Record staff writer Heather Hacking contributed to this report.