Ground search Monday included members of missing hunters’ families

Published 5:20 pm Monday, December 7, 2020

After five days of searching, the families of two duck hunters who went missing on the Mississippi River are holding out hope, and the dozens of people conducting the searches are desperate to give them answers.

Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace said Monday afternoon, the search for Zeb Hughes, 21, from Wesson, and 16-year-old Gunner Palmer continues on the water and on the ground. 

“We have been blessed with good weather and will continue the search until we can provide the families with some answers,” Pace said.

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Hughes and Palmer were reported missing Thursday when they did not return from duck hunting on the river. The pair put in at the LeTourneau Landing Thursday morning. 

Pace said the days of searching have led to the discovery of the pair’s boat and personal items. The boat, Pace said, was found upside-down along the riverbank near the Warren/Claiborne county line near Middle Ground Island. It has been impounded by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks.

“We are still looking. The Warren County Sheriff’s Office has multiple boats on the water, along with boats from the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks,” Pace said. “We are searching the surface of the water as well as underneath using sonar capabilities.”

The search has centered over a roughly six-mile area of the river, from just below the 420-mile marker to just about the 425-mile marker.

In addition to the water search, nearly 30 people conducted a ground search Monday. The group included members of the families and volunteers. Pace said the group was taken under escort into the area and suspended their search at about 2 p.m.

Despite the fact the pair have not been found, Pace lauded the efforts of the search teams and the cooperation between multiple groups and agencies.

In addition to the Warren County Sheriff’s Office and the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, the search has included aircraft from the Madison Parish Sheriff’s Office, drones with thermal imaging from the Rankin County Sheriff’s Office, a drone from the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, and trained overland search and rescue crews from the Mid-Mississippi Strike Team that were coordinated by the Warren County Emergency Management Agency.

About Tim Reeves

Tim Reeves, and his wife Stephanie, are the parents of three children, Sarah Cameron, Clayton and Fin, who all attend school in the Vicksburg Warren School District. The family are members of First Baptist Church Vicksburg. Tim is involved in a number of civic and volunteer organizations including the United Way of West Central Mississippi and serves on the City of Vicksburg's Riverfront Redevelopment Committee.

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