Search for missing Viborg man ends

Search for missing Viborg man ends Law enforcement barricaded approximately a mile-long stretch of University Road so that rescue crews could work without worrying about traffic as they searched for Charles Boulden. This is how the scene appeared Monday looking south. Crews are working in the west ditch. By David Lias The search for a missing Viborg man ended Tuesday afternoon because a local fisherman decided to steer his boat from the Missouri River north into the channel of the Vermillion River.

Local search and rescue personnel successfully recovered the body of Charles Edward Boulden, 76, a Viborg man who has been the focus of an intense search since early Sunday morning when floodwater washed his car off of University Road just north of 308th Street, at a point approximately eight miles north of Vermillion.

The boater who discovered Boulden�s body was not part of the local rescue team.

�He was traveling north on the Vermillion River, went past a snag, and spotted a body on the snag,� said Sergeant Jerami West of the Clay County Sheriff�s Office.

Boulden�s body was discovered at 2 p.m. Tuesday, approximately three-quarters of a mile east of where the river�s channel flows into the Missouri River.

The boater contacted authorities, who were still searching the area where Boulden�s car left University Road Sunday.

Members of the Clay County Sheriff�s Office, Vermillion Fire and Rescue and the Vermillion Coast Guard Auxiliary rushed to the scene.

By the time they arrived, the body had drifted into the Missouri River.

The Vermillion River�s channel is located approximately a mile west of where Boulden�s 2001 Hyundai was washed off University Road Sunday morning.

The search for Boulden continued for a third day Tuesday in the vicinity where his car was discovered.

�We knew it was a possibility that his body may have been washed as far as the Vermillion River,� West said. �It was definitely a shock to us that the body had traveled that far.�

Authorities estimate the body drifted approximately 17 miles.

The scope of local efforts to locate Boulden changed from a rescue to a recovery mission on Tuesday.

Dozens of people from agencies in Vermillion, Wakonda, Beresford, Watertown and Elk Point were involved in the search for the missing man, working 13 hour days since early Sunday.

The car was pushed off the road into an overflowing ditch near 308th Street, approximately eight miles north of Vermillion.

The Clay County Sheriff�s Office received a 911 call at 7:08 a.m. Sunday reporting the incident.

�A local resident watched the car go in the ditch,� West said. �The witness didn�t see the driver leave the car.�

The Vermillion area was hit hard by torrents of rain earlier Sunday morning. By 7 a.m., the rain had let up, but a strong stream of flood water continued to cross University Road along that stretch of road, located in low ground between two large hills.

�The car was completely submerged,� West said. �When the first responders arrived, they could barely see the top of the car, and the driver�s side door was ajar.�

Search and rescue crews used boats, canoes, an amphibious all-terrain vehicle and drag lines Sunday, hoping to locate Boulden.

�People from Vermillion Fire and Rescue and the Vermillion Coast Guard Flotilla put on wet suits and walked through water nearly six feet deep on Sunday,� West said.

The weary men were relieved by members of Wakonda�s Search and Rescue Sunday night.

By Monday morning, the water along University Road had gone down, West said, and crews repeated their search of the ditches, and expanded their efforts by checking nearby fields.

In total, up to 55 people were involved in looking for Boulden Monday. Searchers in a plane viewed the area from the air while while men scoured the ditches on the ground.

The Codington County Search and Rescue Canine Unit arrived at the scene Monday. Rescue personnel from Vermillion, Wakonda, Beresford and Elk Point joined forces.

Monday�s efforts ended at 10 p.m. The search resumed Tuesday morning.

On Tuesday, searchers utilized an air boat provided by the state Department of Game, Fish and Parks that can run in shallow water, West said. A couple of flat-bottom boats were also placed in the area where the car was swept off University Road.

West said no foul play was involved in Boulden�s death, and an autopsy won�t be requested.

�Once the body was positively identified,� West said, �we contacted his (Boulden�s) family immediately.�

Authorities kept his relatives up-to-date on their progress throughout the search. By Tuesday afternoon, everyone, including family members, understood the scope of the efforts had changed from a rescue to a recovery operation.

�We had two goals,� West said. �We wanted to recover the body, and we also wanted to be successful so that the family could have closure.�

The barricades on University Road north of 308th Street have been taken down, he said. A gravel road in the area that runs to the west is still under water and remains closed.

Boulden is the second man to have drowned in the Vermillion area this spring. Authorities continue their search for Ron Christensen, 57, of Vermillion, who was last seen in mid-April near the mouth of the Vermillion River.

Christensen was boating alone with his two dogs in the Missouri River. Authorities later located his capsized boat and found the dogs, one alive and one dead.

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