Body of missing shellfish worker recovered

PORT LUDLOW — The body of 28-year-old Terrence Lavergne has been recovered near the area where he went missing and was presumed drowned Feb. 18.

Lavergne’s co-workers discovered his body Tuesday on a Thorndyke Road beach near the high tide line as they began their shift at Baywater Shellfish, Inc., a family-run shellfish farm based on Bainbridge Island, according to Jefferson County Sheriff’s Detective Joe Nole.

Lavergne, who lived in Coyle, was harvesting oysters when his rowboat capsized, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Nole said Lavergne’s family had been notified and that an autopsy was performed Thursday. Nole said the cause of death was determined to be salt water drowning. There were no signs of trauma or anything suspicious discovered.

Nole said co-workers reported Lavergne had been wearing waders that were removed and he was not wearing a life vest. The tide was going out and the wind was causing rough water conditions.

Attempts to find his body at the time were not successful.

The Port Ludlow Fire & Rescue, State Patrol and the Coast Guard searched for more than 18 hours before suspending their efforts. A single boot and headlamp belonging to Lavergne were recovered.

According to Washington State Department of Labor & Industries, the death is under investigation by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Because Lavergne was in a boat, the drowning is under federal jurisdiction.

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