Marina resident presumed deadHAGER CITY - When Robert Blake More didn't have coffee ready Saturday morning at Mr. Sippi's bar, people began to worry.
By: Mike Longaecker, The Republican Eagle
HAGER CITY - When Robert Blake More didn't have coffee ready Saturday morning at Mr. Sippi's bar, people began to worry.
The early riser was known for putting on a pot after awakening at his houseboat docked at the bar's marina, friends said Sunday.
But Wisconsin authorities say More, 53, likely never made it home early Saturday. Pierce County Sheriff's investigators called off a river and ground search Monday, declaring More presumed drowned in the Mississippi River's back channel.
More was well-liked among campers and marina-goers at Mr. Sippi's, friends said Sunday.
"He was pretty much the do-anything-for-you kind of guy," said Prescott resident John Sweigart.
Witnesses said More was last seen leaving the bar at about 1 a.m.
Pierce County deputies were called at about 1 p.m. Saturday after More was reported missing. After a land search, authorities concentrated their efforts on the fast-moving river.
Goodhue and Dakota county water patrol officers used in-boat sonar technology to canvass the river while members of the Prescott Area Fire and EMS Association dive team scoured the bottom.
After an overnight break, the search resumed Sunday morning. Search efforts were halted later that day due to dangerous water conditions, Pierce County authorities said.
"It certainly made things difficult," Pierce County Sgt. Jason Matthys said of the river, swelling with spring meltwater and runoff.
Pierce County investigator Tom Bauer said divers experienced zero visibility underwater in an area where depths reached 18 feet.
He said the investigation continues, though the search for More is on hold pending new information. Pierce County Recreation Safety and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources officers also assisted in the search.