Missouri River search continues for missing kayaker

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Authorities continue to search for a man who went missing while kayaking on the Missouri River.

He was last seen Saturday. Several days have passed since the search for Joby Seagren began.

We spoke to the Burleigh County Sheriff’s Office as well as the missing man’s family.

“We’re still very confident that this individual will be found, but it just may be a little bit down the road,” said Maj. Gary Schaffer.

The Burleigh County Sheriff’s Department, along with the state Highway Patrol and Bismarck Rural Fire Department, have been pooling their resources.

“We have drones that we will fly. The North Dakota Highway Patrol works well with us. They have an airplane they have graciously put themselves available that they will fly the river, two times a day. Usually in the morning and the evening,” Schaffer.

Maj. Schaffer tells us searching the river has been challenging, but they are doing everything they can.

“There’s all kinds of debris in the water. So, some of our technology that we put in the water, some of our sonar equipment was actually getting tangled up. At one point we had to suspend operations because part of it broke. Another thing that makes it a challenge is nobody actually seeing him leave his vessel. It was just some members of his group looked back, and he was no longer in it,” said Schaffer.

Search efforts continue off the water as well.

“We take the data that’s recorded off the sonar and we analyze that, and that’s a visual analysis. All the targeting that’s been done, we go back to those points, check those out. The reason we’re back here is because there’s a few points of interest that they wanted to check out and confirm,” said Brian Reinke, Assistant Commander of Burleigh County Water Rescue.

Seagren’s family has been staying close by as authorities comb the river.

Abby Jo Seagren-Hunt, Joby’s sister, tells us she hopes to soon get some closure.

“I know that my brother’s body is on this river, but I know where my brother is at. And so that gives me a lot of comfort. I want his body back, so that I can touch him one last time and say goodbye, but I know that it’s just a body. I know where my brother’s soul is at,” said Amy Jo.

“I’ve been doing dive rescue for over 25 years, and it never gets easier. It breaks my heart to have to talk with families,” said Schaffer.

Schaffer says they plan to continue searching for Joby until he is found.

Both family members and authorities have been conducting searches in the Kimball Bottoms area. If anyone sees anything or has information that may help the search, they are asked to contact the Burleigh County Sheriff’s Office.

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