On Sunday, the fourth day of its search, La Plata County Search and Rescue was again unsuccessful in finding the body of a young man who drowned Thursday.
“History tells us that the results of the searches may take time,” said Butch Knowlton, the director of the La Plata County Office of Emergency Management.
Sunday crews searched in rafts and canoes from north of Bakers Bridge to Trimble Lane for Cody Shane Pierce of Albuquerque. He was a student at the University of New Mexico and a staff member at Tall Timber Resort.
“We went through that area of the river one more time looking at some of the gravel bars and islands in that reach of the river,” Knowlton said.
The search started Thursday night after Pierce jumped into the Animas River. Pierce and some fellow staff members were hiking near the resort in the area of Tank Creek when he jumped in the Animas to cool off. Investigators ruled the drowning an accident after interviewing his companions, Knowlton said.
Search-and-rescue crews used a helicopter in the search Friday because the Upper Animas is narrow, and the banks are extremely steep in some areas.
La Plata County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Unit searched above and below Bakers Bridge Sunday but found no scent of any kind, Knowlton said.
On Monday, the search may be scaled back a bit, but the K-9 Unit will be looking north of Trimble bridge.
“We’re going to have to rely on the K-9 aspect,” Knowlton said. The county has about six specially trained dogs in the unit.
The search has been challenging because the river is running high and many of the banks can’t be walked on foot.
Knowlton was hopeful in the next few days crews would be aided by sunny weather, clear water and lower water.
He also asked anyone boating on the river to be on the lookout for Pierce’s body.
“Hopefully, one day, we’ll bring Cody home,” he said.