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Search for two hunters continues into a sixth day on the Mississippi



Warren County search and rescue boat (photo by David Day)

Day six of the search for two missing hunters on the Mississippi River began with the possibility that their dog has been found.

The young men, Gunner Palmer, 16, from Copiah County, and Zeb Hughes, 21, of Wesson, Mississippi, went out on a boat Thursday with their dog to find a good spot for duck hunting near Davis Island. They have not been heard from since Thursday afternoon, and the search began that night.

Search crews have worked around the clock since Thursday evening (photo by Thomas Parker)

Searchers have spotted a black Labrador retriever in the woods near the river’s shoreline.  The grandfather of one of the two hunters is attempting to make contact with the dog and determine if it is, in fact, their hunting companion, but the dog runs back toward the river before he can get close enough to identify it.

Shane Garrard, director of the Warren County 911 Communication Center, was on the search staging site Wednesday morning as he has been every day. Among the search team are several HRD dogs, trained to detect human remains even under the most difficult of circumstances, including under water.

“They gave us a couple of spots of interest,” Garrard said. “We going to be running live scope and sonar today. … We’re going to focus in on those areas that the dogs gave us.”

The search is now focused in the frigid waters, aided by sonar technology (photo by David Day)

Searchers from numerous areas and disciplines have continued the search each day since the first full day of searching Friday. Among them are deputies from Warren and Claiborne counties, personnel from the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, and members of the Mid-Mississippi Strike Team, which includes police and firefighters from Warren, Rankin, Madison, Yazoo and Simpson counties.

Each of the searchers now involved are trained in water searches and with the sonar equipment being used on the boats.

“We’re out here. We’re committed ’til there is closure for the families,” Garrard said.

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