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Missing kayaker's GPS found along Lake Superior shore

Doug Winter

Two more items believed to belong to missing Wisconsin kayaker Doug Winter have surfaced on the Lake Superior shore in Lake County.

The Lake County Sheriff's Office received a tip Monday that a paddle had washed ashore along the lake.

Then they received a second call about another, more valuable item: Someone in the Twin Cities said they had found a GPS unit while they were in the area this weekend.

Lake County Sheriff Carey Johnson said the unit traced back to Winter, as did the kayak, car and life vest that were identified last week. The GPS unit is the newest clue after a search by the Coast Guard and Lake County Search and Rescue Team over the weekend turned up nothing.

Johnson said he presumes the worst for Winter, an avid kayaker from Milwaukee who hasn't been seen since Oct. 18, when he checked in to the Cove Point Lodge in Beaver Bay. But the department continues its investigation and is turning to surveillance video to figure out what Winter might have been doing the night he disappeared.

Johnson said his investigators are trying to confirm whether Winter got into the kayak in the first place. For that, they're turning now to surveillance video from the lodge.

"There was possibly a camera that was pointed in the direction of where a lot of people put in their kayaks in the water," Johnson said.

A worker at the lodge said the video is poor quality, but does show Winter pulling into the parking lot late Sunday night, Oct. 18.

Investigators say Winter made a call to a friend the next night, telling her he was on the water, the waves were getting large and he couldn't see land.

It was perhaps the last time he spoke to anyone.

Johnson said Monday he presumes Winter drowned.

Anyone with information about Winter or who finds related items should call the Lake County Sheriff's Office at (218) 834-8385.