Man who drowned Sunday was Battle Ground police officer

By Dave Kern, Columbian assistant metro editor

Published:

 

The man who drowned Sunday afternoon in the Columbia River has been identified as Battle Ground police Officer Michael M. Molzahn, 41, of Battle Ground.

“He was really liked in the community. A terrific motor officer,” Chief Robert Richardson said this afternoon. “Everybody in Battle Ground knew Mike.”

Authorities said Molzahn jumped from a boat in the Columbia River off Government Island and struggled against the current and the cold. Those in the boat could not reach him, a person on a personal watercraft reached him later and took him to the island. A Portland fireboat then took Molzahn to Vancouver’s Steamboat Landing, where efforts to revive him were unsuccessful. The accident happened about 5:30 p.m.

He was hired by the Battle Ground Police Department in March 2000 after serving for at least two years as a reserve office, said Lt. Roy Butler.

He was a detective for four years and had served four years as a motor officer on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

He had prior law enforcement experience in California, Butler said.

“He always rode the bike, even when it rained,” the chief said.

He leaves a wife, an 18-year-old son and a 13-year-old daughter.

The family suggests that people who wish to do so can contribute to the North County Food Bank in memory of the officer.

An autopsy by the Multnomah County Medical Examiner’s Office is scheduled for today.

Services are pending.