Search called off: Missing Hoh fisherman presumed drowned

By Paige Dickerson
Peninsula Daily News

FORKS -- Fifty-two hours after David Hudson Jr.'s boat capsized and he was washed downstream, search-and-rescue teams wrapped up attempts to find him.

"We are now classifying the case as missing but presumed drowned," said Jefferson County Sheriff's Chief Criminal Deputy Joe Nole.

The 21-year-old Hoh tribal member was commercial fishing with his sister, Elva Hudson, 29, at about 1 p.m. Monday near the Hoh River Resort.

They had just cast a net into the rain-swollen Hoh River when the boat hit a log and capsized, Nole said.

Elva Hudson swam to shore. She last saw her brother as he was swept downstream by the current.

Her footprints appeared near the boat, which washed ashore. Those footprints originally were mistaken as possible clues to David Hudson's whereabouts soon after the search began Monday.

Nole said that law enforcement search efforts, which have been led by Deputy David Thomas, would not resume today.

Many family members and Hoh tribal fishermen will continue to look, Nole said.

Representatives of several tribes, including the Tulalip, who showed up to help on Wednesday, assisted in the search, Nole said.

"The Tulalip had some guys in dry suits in the river looking around in the water, but they still found nothing," Nole said.

"The most promising thing was some clothes they found [Tuesday], but then those turned out to be unrelated."

Because the five miles of river downstream from the Hoh River Resort are populated, Nole said, if Hudson had climbed out of the river, he should have been able to make his way to a house or a road.

Hudson was wearing hip boots, rain pants and a gray sweatshirt.

He was described as 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighing about 140 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes.

Neither he nor his sister was wearing a life jacket.

Nole said if new clues turn up, search efforts could resume.

In addition to a team of Jefferson County Sheriff's deputies and members of the Hoh tribe, searchers have included state Fish and Wildlife, Olympic National Park and Coast Guard personnel.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to phone Nole at 360-301-9747.

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Reporter Paige Dickerson can be reached at 360-417-3535 or at paige.dickerson@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: October 14. 2010 12:08AM
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