Day 4: Search continues for missing duck hunters in Warren Co.

Search for missing boaters moves into Day 4

WARREN COUNTY, Miss. (WLBT) - The search continues for two duck hunters who went missing in along the Mississippi River in Warren County.

Gunner Palmer, 16, and Zeb Hughes, 21, from Copiah County were last seen on Thursday.

Sheriff Martin Pace said they came to the river looking for a place to go duck hunting.

On Sunday, they began scouring across the Mississippi River and into wooded areas in hopes of gathering tracings of evidence to that would lead them to Palmer and Hughes.

“We’re focusing on an area about a three or four mile stretch that extends from the Letourneau Landing south,” said Sheriff Pace. “We’re keeping that area secure and trying to keep the public out at this time.”

So far in the search, Pace said investigators have recovered the boat the two hunters were riding in, along with their safety vests and hunting gear. While the evidence found does indicate that Palmer and Hughes were on the River, Pace said it hasn’t led to their location.

“We don’t have any way of knowing whether these young men made it out of the river or no,” the sheriff explained. “It was a cold, rainy afternoon, the water temperature was hovering between 49 and 50 degrees. This is a very brutal environment to survive in, so we have no way of knowing at this point if these young men made it out of the water, or whether they did not. We just don’t have anyway of knowing that right now.”

As crews continue to search around the clock, they’re seeing a large number of volunteers wanting to assist. However, investigators said that help could hinder the investigation.

“We need to have the area as sterile as possible when we are conducting the search, Pace expressed. “It would do us no good to put a K-9 team in on the track if 30 or 40 people have already been through the same area just wandering through.”

Though Palmer and Hughes are yet to be found, Pace said a crew will continue searching for them everyday until they can give both families answers about what happened.

“In every situation like this it’s important that they know what happened and they have some answers, and we’re going to do everything we can,” said Pace. “We have excellent cooperation from multiple agencies and we’re working very hard to give them some answers, and we’re praying we will give them a good answer.”

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