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Search for possible drowning victim in Boone County continues

The Boone County Fire Protection District continued their search at County Downes for a 27-year-old man who was last seen swimming in the area on Saturday.

The man has since been identified as Gaspar Soto-Reza of Columbia. He is originally from Mexico and has been in the United States for several years. Authorities describe him as 5’8″, 150-160 pounds with short dark hair.

The second day of the search began around 8 o’clock in the morning and lasted until about 3 o’clock in the afternoon. Crews performed a grid search on the 30-plus acre lake.

Gale Blomenkamp, Battalion Chief, said Boone County Fire had three boats on the lake searching for the man Sunday.

He said they have drones and sonar equipment as well as dogs who are trained to recognize human remains, along with equipment used to drag things to the surface.

He said the dogs picked up a scent on one of the docks and another floating dock. Crews searched those particular areas of the lake, but didn’t find anything.

A friend of the man told emergency crews they both went swimming early Saturday morning but they did not go into the water together.

When the friend left the water, he saw the missing man’s clothes on the shore. He moved them to the man’s truck.

They found his clothes and belongings in the truck Saturday afternoon. They called the authorities around that time.

Blomenkamp said the water search will not continue on Monday.

The Boone County Sheriff’s Department is continuing the investigation. Sergeant Michael Perkins said they have talked to some of the man’s friends and are working to find his family members.

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