Investigation for missing Neah Bay man continues

Car was found in ditch following heavy snowfall in January

CLALLAM BAY — Search-and-rescue crews who renewed their search for long-missing Matthew Dean of Neah Bay were unable to find evidence of his whereabouts, a Clallam County Sheriff’s Office spokesman said.

Teams from Clallam, Mason, Kitsap and Whatcom counties converged on the area of Burnt Mountain Road, state highways 112 and 113 and the Pysht River on Sunday for signs of what happened to Dean, 38, who vanished during a Jan. 14 snowstorm.

Clallam County Fire District 5 was on standby, and searchers were aided by the Clallam County Amateur Radio Emergency Service.

“We didn’t find anything,” Clallam County Sheriff’s Sgt. John Keegan said on Monday.

“We did check a large area.”

“We are still investigating.”

Even in dry conditions, some water hazards prevented a more thorough walk-through of the area, Keegan said.

“There are places where we can a take closer look, that we could look at, when the hazards go away,” he said.

Drier conditions than were present in January allowed search-and-rescue personnel to scour terrain and the Pysht River, some of which had exposed riverbed.

“Parts had no water, parts had really deep pools,” Keegan said.

Dean’s white 2007 Toyota Camry was found Jan. 17. It was discovered in a shallow ditch in about 18 inches of snow along Highway 112, about 10 miles southeast of Clallam Bay.

Foot tracks leading from the vehicle were pointed toward Neah Bay.

Family members last saw Dean Jan. 14, wearing black sneakers and black or gray sweatpants.

He is Native American, about 5-feet, 10-inches tall and 155 pounds, with brown hair and eyes.

Dean’s vehicle appeared to have been driven off the roadway and into the shallow ditch during the heavy snowfall that blanketed the county from Jan. 14 through the following morning.

There were subsequent unconfirmed sightings of Dean from Clallam Bay to Port Angeles, according to the sheriff’s office.

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Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected] peninsuladailynews.com.

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