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Crews searching for missing man

January 2, 2013
Boundary County sheriff's deputies and Search and Dive Rescue members have been scouring Smith Creek and the Kootenai River near Copeland since Monday morning after a daypack was discovered at Smith Creek Hydro, along with a set of footprints leading to the top of Smith Creek Falls, where a pair of shoes were found.

It is believed that the man, whose name has not been released pending notification of next of kin, went there sometime Friday, December 28, with the intention of taking his own life.

According to Chief Deputy Rich Stevens of the Boundary County Sheriff's Office, the man lived alone on the West Side, and attempts to find next of kin have so far not been successful.

"He was a loner with no family in the area," he said. "We're now working this as a recovery rather than a rescue based on how long this has gone on."

According to Stephens, operators at Smith Creek Hydro discovered the pack and footprints and notified the sheriff's office. Because of the cold weather and steep terrain, the search has been slow and methodical for the safety of those conducting the search, and crews have been on the Kootenai River in the sheriff's office's Marine 1 as conditions allow.

"It's pretty treacherous terrain and conditions are dangerous," Stephens said.

Searchers were able to identify the missing man, and a search of his home turned up letters that indicated the man's intent as well as the timeframe.
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