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Missing Adams, N.D., man's body found in Homme Dam

The body of Jared Udby, missing since April 12 when the pickup truck he was driving was washed off a gravel "Texas crossing" into the flooded Park River, was found Friday evening, the Walsh County Sheriff's Department announced about noon Saturday.

Udby's body was found in the west end of Homme Dam, the small man-made lake about two miles east and downstream of where Udby's pickup went into the swollen stream.

Udby's two passengers also went into the river but were able to make it to shore about 2 a.m. April 12.

A Texas crossing is a graveled ford through a shallow stream. The site, about four miles west of Park River, N.D., has steep approaches on a gravel road that normally crosses the small, shallow stream. But the unusually high level of spring flooding had turned the stream into a raging torrent with water 3 feet or higher across the ford.

Udby's passengers told investigators that once the Ford pickup truck was washed off the road by 3 feet or more of raging floodwaters, the truck began spinning around while remaining upright. Udby kicked out the driver's window and crawled out, and they followed him, the passengers said.

They last saw Udby, 27, of Adams, N.D., in the water as they swam to shore. The truck got hung up in the river about 200 yards from where it went in the water and was retrieved about three weeks later.

Extensive searching failed to locate Udby's body, but volunteers kept checking the river, which is the southern of three branches of the Park River at the site about four miles west of Park River, N.D. About 6:45 p.m. Friday, the Park River Fire Department and the Sheriff's Department recovered his body in the small lake.

His body is being taken to Bismarck to the office of the state medical examiner.

Getting closure

Wayne Udby, Jared's father, said his family was notified of the discovery about 10:20 p.m. Friday. He said it's been hard to wait for news since Easter Sunday, when his son went missing, but finding the body was still hard to deal with.

"It's kind of a load off my shoulders," he said. "They found him and got him out of the river and are bringing him home and get some closure to everything. It's very relieving but still very emotional. We're more content, and we can go on with everything."

Wayne said the family is still making funeral arrangements, but his son will be buried at Hoff Lutheran Cemetery in rural Adams and he'll finally know where Jared is again. The outpouring of community support and volunteers to search for Jared's body has been a big assistance to the family, he said, and is one of the benefits of living in a small community where everyone wants to do as much as they can to help.

He hoped that such tragedies will never happen again because of the incredible burden of overcoming a family loss like this but said he realized "it's not the first and it's not the last," and that's just the way things are sometimes.

Wayne will remember Jared for his personality and kindness. "He was a fun-loving young man that always had consideration for everybody else."