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Water dropping, but Adams man still missing in Walsh County river

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region Park Rapids, 56470
Park Rapids Minnesota PO Box 111 56470

The body of Jared Udby hasn't been found yet, despite daily checks along the south branch of the Park River in Walsh County where he and two friends were washed off a river crossing a week ago.

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Udby, 27, was driving his 2008 Ford pickup truck across a graveled, "Texas crossing," where the gravel road went across what was a raging, flooded Park River in the dark, early hours of April 12 about four miles west of Park River, N.D.. His passengers, second cousin Greg Gustafson, also 27 and from Adam, N.D., and Ashley Blasky, 21, Fordville, N.D., said Udby kicked out the driver's side window and got out and they followed him. Blasky and Gustafson made it to shore.

A spokesman for the Walsh County Sheriff's Department said Sunday that nothing has been found of Udby.

Walsh County Sheriff Lauren Wild said last week that because the possible land area to search had been thoroughly covered several times by dozens of people April 12, there was little more to do except wait for and monitor the river's fall. Because of the swollen torrent, there was no possible way to search in the river.

"What's happening is the river is being checked every day, twice a day," Wild said today. "We just have to have patience and wait till we can get in to the lower spots when the water goes down and keep our fingers crossed."

Jeff Dahlen, chief of the volunteer fire department in Park River, has been checking the site early every morning before going to work, as have others.

"It's dropped eight to 10 inches every night, so we are looking at new ground every day," Dahlen said Sunday.

But the water's still too high and fast-flowing to retrieve Udby's pickup, which got hung up, perhaps on a rock, about 250 yards downstream, to the east of where it was washed off the road, Wild said. The Texas crossing still has way too much water over it for vehicles to cross, he said. Wild said Dahlen and his firefighters have done yeoman's work in the search, from the first hours to the twice-daily checks.

"The guys were out this morning and again tonight, and I was out this afternoon just walking around," Wild said. "Still nothing."

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