Search for missing hunters switches back to Mississippi River

Published 4:23 pm Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Authorities Tuesday suspended ground searches and concentrated their efforts on the Mississippi River as the search for two duck hunters entered its sixth day.

“There’s nothing new to report,” said Warren County Fire Coordinator Jerry Briggs. “We’ve been on the water all day but found nothing.” He said authorities have been using dogs specially trained to search for people in the water for several days.

He said the search was suspended at dark and will resume Wednesday at 10 a.m.

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The search for Zeb Hughes, 21, from Wesson, and 16-year-old Gunner Palmer began Thursday evening after relatives reported they did not return from duck hunting on the river. The pair put in at the LeTourneau Landing Thursday morning. 

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, and involved Warren County Sheriff’s deputies, Mississippi Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks agents, first responders, Madison Parish, La., sheriff’s deputies, fixed-wing aircraft, drones and a helicopter.

Besides 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.

Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace said Monday the days of searching 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 and was impounded by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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