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Mercy returns despite dangerous river conditions



Fog and dangerous weather conditions forced searchers to abbreviate their search efforts for two missing hunters on Sunday.

Weather conditions and reduced visibility forced searchers off the river Sunday (photo courtesy of Mercy Search and Rescue)

Brandi Brignac, of Mercy Search and Rescue, is on her 10th trip in her quest to find closure for the families of Gunner Palmer and Zeb Hughes, who went missing on Dec. 3, 2020.  Her team, along with countless other volunteers, have worked tirelessly to scour the river and surrounding areas for weeks.

Brignac said Sunday afternoon that she will be joined by two additional 501C-3 organizations, Southeast Louisiana Underwater Search & Recovery and Bruce’s Legacy, who bring various unique skills to the recovery efforts. Monday will be a day of planning and rest before the group takes to the river again on Tuesday.

Mercy of Mercy Search and Rescue (photo with permission)

Brignac travels to Vicksburg along with her K-9, Mercy, from her home in Saint Amant, in Ascension Parish, Louisiana. She was involved in the recovery of a young drowning victim in New Orleans earlier this week. Fighting back tears with a quiver in her voice, Brignac said it’s hard to not become emotional and attached to the families in cases such as the search for Hughes and Palmer.

Ms. Rosa and Brandi share an emotional embrace (photo courtesy of Mercy Search and Rescue).

Mercy Search and Rescue was recently gifted an RV by Rosa Harris Mickles of Hazelhurst. Ms. Rosa wanted the K-9’s and handlers to have a safe place to shelter while working on these long searches. Brignac says the RV will have a memorial to Zeb, Gunner and Ms. Rosa’s brother T-Joe.

Brignac and the other groups have been operating on donations. To learn more about the organization, visit them on Facebook or visit their website at

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