A river mystery: Three months later, man still missingThe past three months have been hard on Duane More. The Blue Earth, Minn., man and his wife were in Alaska caring for their dying son when they received a tragic phone call in late March. Wisconsin authorities informed them their other son, Robert More, had drowned in the Mississippi River. The search continues for his body.
By: Mike Longaecker, The Republican Eagle
The past three months have been hard on Duane More.
The Blue Earth, Minn., man and his wife were in Alaska caring for their dying son when they received a tragic phone call in late March. Wisconsin authorities informed them their other son, Robert More, had drowned in the Mississippi River.
The search continues for his body.
Today, the Mores bury Robert's older brother, Dennis, who died June 19 in Alaska.
"I was hoping we could find Bob a week ago and we could hold (both funerals) together," Duane More said Thursday.
It wasn't to be. Despite regular searches of the Wisconsin back channel, Wisconsin and Minnesota authorities aren't any closer than they were when Robert More disappeared March 28.
"We're kind of drawing at straws figuring out what to do from here," Pierce County Investigator Tom Bauer said.
Pierce County Sheriff's deputies were called the afternoon of March 28 to the marina at Mr. Sippi's Bar in Hager City, where Robert More kept his houseboat docked. Dive teams entered the fast-moving spring water, while water patrols scoured the river for two days.
To this day, Robert More is presumed drowned.
"It is unusual," Bauer said of More's extended disappearance.
That hasn't stopped searches, however. Bauer said he has been out looking about five times since March. He said Pierce County's recreation patrol, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources officers and Goodhue County water patrollers all regularly comb the back channel area.
Bauer calls with updates about once a week, Duane More said. It's appreciated, anyway.
Duane More said his son found a home in the boat after the death of his wife, Jan, who few years earlier lost her battle with cancer.
"He seemed to be kind of lost," without her, Duane said.
Then he found the houseboat, which became his new residence.
"He was more at peace there than he was at his house," Duane said. "He was in love with that boat."
Robert More was last seen heading to the houseboat at about 1 a.m. March 28. Tragedy continued to follow the family. In April, family members buried Robert More's mother-in-law.
The saga has been draining, Duane More said.
"It's something," he said. "I don't know how you explain it."
Meanwhile, the family must wait to close out Robert More's personal business and hold a service until he is found.
"We'd like to find his body so we could have closure on this," he said.
Goodhue County Sheriff's water patrol officer Scott Powers has been among the searchers. He said the high, cold water of March made dragging the river hard.
Now that the water has retreated, he searches the back channel's shallower areas on the department's airboat.
"There's nothing precise about recovering a body in a river," Powers said.
He said it's likely the Wisconsin back channel has more dead trees and general debris than the river's main channel.
Duane More understands the difficulty searchers have faced.
"You don't know on a river like that," he said. "All we can do is wait."