Hunter, searching father found safe in Jefferson County
By Arwyn Rice and Rob Ollikainen
Peninsula Daily News
Print This | Email This
Most Popular this week
‘No one should have to die the way she did’: Daughter of woman brutally killed in Joyce home seeks justice
4th UPDATE: 2 reported dead in Marysville school siege — including shooter who was a homecoming king [Tomorrow's Clallam Bay game canceled.]
2ND UPDATE — Authorities lose track of high-risk child rapist during pursuit in woods south of Sequim
About 20 searchers had shifted their search for Amy Merritt, 21, of Arlington and began searching for Kevin Merritt, 47, also of Arlington, who had been searching for his daughter ahead of the Jefferson County Search and Rescue teams.
The elder Merritt was believed to have been unaware that his daughter had been found, said Joe Nole, chief criminal deputy for the Sheriff’s Office.
Amy Merritt was reported missing Monday at about 8:20 p.m. after she did not return from what was expected to be a three-hour elk hunt
Her plans were to travel down a drainage between two Olympic National Forest roads and meet her mother at about 10 a.m.
But she sent a cellphone text message to her mother to let her know she would be late, Nole said.
When Merritt did not show up by 8 p.m., the Sheriff’s Office was notified.
She was not believed to have been equipped for an overnight stay in the woods.
Searchers from Jefferson County Search and Rescue, the Sheriff’s Office, the Coast Guard, the Hoh Nation and the state departments of Natural Resources and Fish and Wildlife looked for her.
Kevin Merritt joined the search and began following his daughter’s tracks ahead of the search teams, Nole said.
“We did find him,” Nole said Wednesday afternoon of the elder Merritt.
“He was located right around 12:30 [p.m.] on the Queets River.”
Amy Merritt was found at 6 p.m. Tuesday by an MH-60 helicopter crew from Air Station Astoria, Ore., on a Queets River sand bar about 13 miles from where she began her hunting trip and about 9 miles from Yahoo Lake, Nole said.
She was flown to Forks to be reunited with her mother.
Nole said Amy Merritt had traveled in the opposite direction of the area where she was supposed to meet her mother, he said.
He did not know why she went in that direction.
When searchers attempted to contact Kevin Merritt, he did not respond, Nole said.
The elder Merritt went missing before the Coast Guard found Amy Merritt, Nole said.
The crew of the Coast Guard helicopter said Kevin Merritt was well-equipped for the search.
Searchers believe Kevin Merritt’s radio batteries died, Nole said.
Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at email@example.com.
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5072, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last modified: November 07. 2012 6:12PM