Texarkana Gazette

Authoritie­s find body of missing man

- By Jim Williamson and Greg Bischof

ASHDOWN, Ark.—After nearly two weeks the search for Dugan Ward ended Sunday morning.

Eleven days after the search for Ward started, Richmond Community Volunteer Fire Department personnel along with members of the Bowie County Sheriff ’s Office Search and Rescue Team and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission found Ward’s body shortly before 9:15 a.m. Sunday some distance down the Red River from where he went missing back on May 27, said Little River County Sheriff Gary Gregory.

Firefighte­rs and search team and game and fish wardens found Dugan, 28, on small island area in the river and Gregory said that in all likelihood Ward apparently drowned.

“Our hearts go out to Dugan’s family and we hope that at least this might help give them some closure,” Gregory said.

Ward went missing when he and his parents, Steve and Dee Dee Ward, got in their boat the evening of May 27 and went to a water-covered pasture to check their property in the Red River bottoms southwest of Ashdown.

Jason Spivey, a member of the Bowie County Search and Rescue Team—which included a K-9 team—said he and other team members, using Arkansas Game and Fish Commission boats, found Ward in a tree line in about eight to 12 feet of water about a half mile away from where his parents were rescued May 28 .

Back on May 27, Ward and his parents were riding across the pasture when the Red River’s current pushed them into some pecan trees and forced the boat motor to get hung up on the pasture land’s fence. The current then came right over the top of the boat and capsized the small vessel. Dugan Ward fell into the river.

His parents were rescued about 8 a.m. May 28 while holding onto a fence gate surrounded by the floodwater­s.

After their rescue, both parents gave a descriptio­n of the possible location of where their son might be found.

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