Day 5: Crews, family not giving up search for any trace of 2 missing duck hunters

Updated: Dec. 7, 2020 at 9:50 PM CST
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WARREN COUNTY, Miss. (WLBT) - Search teams of sheriffs deputies and wildlife officers were in the water throughout the day Monday searching for two missing duck hunters whose boat was found capsized on Middle Ground Island last week about 12 miles south of where they launched.

“We have located most of the items we believe to have been in the boat including two lifejackets,” said Sheriff Martin Pace. “In Mississippi you’re not required to have the vest on, you’re required to have them in the boat.. but it appears at this time they were not wearing a life vest.”

Boats using side-scan sonar went up and down the river looking in the water for 16-year-old Gunner Palmer and 21-year-old Zeb Hughes of Copiah County. There was even a large search party on land along the river banks.

Meanwhile family members huddled together hoping for answers.

“Wildlife and fisheries, which are always a great partner for law-enforcement, have been here since day one,” said Pace. “They’ve partnered with us and just a lot of other agencies that have come together. The family- they’ve been here throughout this. They haven’t left. We will just need to give them some answers.”

As time goes on, the search area widens as the Mighty Mississippi and its strong currents push everything in it to the south.

“Because this is a flowing, moving body of water everything is subject to drift so we know this happened upstream,” Pace explained. “From where the boat was we know they launched from here so the only thing you can say with certainty is that it would’ve never happened north of where we found the debris field.”

The search was called off Monday evening because of darkness. They will resume efforts Tuesday morning. No one here is giving up until they can provide answers to the families of the two missing.

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