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Sheriff’s Office Suspends Search for Missing Hiker at Vesper Peak

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  August 23, 2018

CONTACT: Courtney O’Keefe, Communications Specialist, Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office
Courtney.O’[email protected], 425-388-3865, Media line: 425-249-6263

SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. – Search operations have been suspended for the Vesper Peak hiker, 28 year-old Samantha Sayers, who has been missing since late August 1. Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue (SAR) personnel will continue to conduct spot checks of the area as snow continues to melt, as weather and other conditions safely allow.

Since August 2, preliminary numbers show the search operations included:

  • 357 hours for air operations, including flight time for both Sheriff’s Office helicopters as well as air support from other agencies
  • 105 hours for drone operations in the search area
  • 82 hours for the Marine Unit to support search teams going into the search area from Spada Lake
  • 329 hours for Sheriff’s Office SAR personnel
  • Thousands of volunteer hours from SAR agencies across Washington State, including Snohomish County Volunteer Search and Rescue, Everett Mountain Rescue, Seattle Mountain Rescue, Tacoma Mountain Rescue, Olympic Mountain Rescue, and the Soup Ladies

Assistance and/or volunteers were also provided by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center, Washington State Emergency Operations Center, U.S. Coast Guard Station Port Angeles, U.S. Navy NAS Whidbey Island, U.S. Air Force 304th Rescue Squad, King County Sheriff’s Office Guardian 2, Snohomish County PUD and SAR teams from King County, Pierce County, Kitsap County, Kittitas County, and Skagit County.

"We have exhausted all leads and tips. We've interviewed all witnesses who have come forward. We have checked and double checked the possible routes we believe Sam could have taken," said Search and Rescue Sgt. John Adams. "If there was a place we thought she could get to, we put people there to look for Sam, often putting our volunteers and personnel at great risk due to the rugged, remote, and dangerous terrain."

All witnesses who came forward that said they were on the mountain the same day as Sayers, including several climbers and hikers, have been extremely cooperative. Each has provided detailed information about where they saw Sayers on August 1. No witnesses reported seeing her return or come back down the trail.

Thank you to all the agencies and volunteers who responded to assist with the search operation.

Further information will be provided if there is anything new to release.

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Map of Vesper Peak Search Areas

Caption for attached map: This map includes an overview of all search areas covered, including by drones, at a 1:50000 scale. The size of the active search area (an irregular shape that includes the summit areas, trail approach, river basins on the west and south, and the north shores of Spada Lake) was approximately 12 square miles. On this coverage map a shape indicates the approximate areas where teams searched. Shapes do not mean that all ground inside the shape was searched. Some areas were not searched by ground teams due to circumstances such as unsafe terrain (i.e., steep slopes and cliffs on the west and south sides of the mountain). In general, such areas were searched by helicopter.

Map Key:

Purple = K9 team

Black = Ground team search

Yellow = Tracks from drones search