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Mercy Search and Rescue is back on the river searching for Palmer and Hughes



Left to right: Terrell Bergeron, Brandi Brignac, Mark Michaud, Daylon Poirior and Matt Hayes (photo by Thomas Parker)

Brandi Brignac of Mercy Search and Rescue made her third trip Friday to try to find Gunner Palmer and Zeb Hughes, two young hunters who were reported missing on the Mississippi River Dec. 3.

When she returned to her home in St. Amant, Louisiana, earlier this week, she reached out for some experienced help. E3 Environmental Services had already provided help on her second trip.

“We have the boats capable of handling the river and were glad to lend a hand,” said Managing Partner George Malvany.

(photo by Thomas Parker)

E3, based in Clinton, Mississippi, does environmental emergency response.

Brignac also reached out to Terrell Bergeron with Atchafalaya Search and Rescue based in St. Martin Parish, Louisiana. Bergeron is a 16-year law enforcement veteran who primarily responds to autistic and special needs search and rescue.

Also on the search crew this weekend is Mark Michaud who has 24-years in law enforcement and is a master diver in addition to a search and rescue expert. Michaud is based in Slidell, Louisiana. Michaud brought some technical gear with him including sonar equipment.

All agree that battling the mighty Mississippi River has created some unique challenges. The current and the depth of the river are presenting some difficult scenarios for the team.

Nonetheless, everyone on the team is committed to helping bring closure to the families of Palmer and Hughes. Brignac self-funded her first two trips.

“We are just here to help,” she said with tears in her eyes.

“I have had to bury a child of mine,” Bergeron said. “When Brandi called, it wasn’t even something I had to think about.”

Bergeron’s bloodhound, Willie, comes from a long line of working dogs (photo courtesy Mercy Search and Rescue)

Bergeron brought along two young firefighters, Daylon Poirier and Matt Hayes, along with his bloodhound Willie. Willie is a fourth generation K-9 bred and trained at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola.

The team will be back on the water tomorrow working together to attempt to locate the two young men.

For more information on their organizations visit or You can also support the efforts of Mercy Search and Rescue by making a contribution to

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