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Columbia River student athlete Hunter Pearson dies in apparent drowning

Incident occurred Saturday afternoon at Lacamas Lake

By , Columbian Assistant Sports Editor, and
, Columbian Editor
Published:
3 Photos
Columbia River's Hunter Pearson, with ball, makes his way through a muddy Hockinson High School field in October. Pearson died in an apparent drowning at Lacamas Lake on Saturday.
Columbia River's Hunter Pearson, with ball, makes his way through a muddy Hockinson High School field in October. Pearson died in an apparent drowning at Lacamas Lake on Saturday. (Amanda Cowan/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

On a day when so many high school athletes were celebrating the final day of the sports year, Columbia River High School suffered a tragic loss.

Hunter Pearson, an 18-year-old senior at Columbia River, apparently drowned in Lacamas Lake Saturday afternoon, according to Camas police.

Pearson went into the water at about 4:30 p.m. and did not make it back to shore, according to a news release.

A search by the Clark County Marine Patrol and the Multnomah County Dive Team resulted in the recovery of a body at about 9:30 p.m. that is believed to be Pearson’s. The Clark County Medical Examiner will make a positive identification and establish the cause of death.

Pearson was a senior at Columbia River High School, where he was a standout running back on the varsity football team last season.

Pearson was an all-league at running back for the Chieftains last fall, rushing for 943 yards and eight touchdowns.

Columbia River football coach Christian Swain called it a tremendous loss for the school and community, calling Pearson “the kind of young man I pray my daughter will marry some day.”

“Hunter was one of the most unselfish, thoughtful, courteous and hard-working kids I’ve ever coached,” Swain posted on social media. “He was a ferocious competitor on the field, and very gentle and sweet to everyone off the field. As a father myself, I cannot find words for his family to appropriately express how heartfelt my condolences. I can only say they did a tremendous job raising a young man of high character. … His legacy at our school will last forever. I’m truly devastated.”

A memorial for Pearson was being planned for 7 p.m. Monday at the 50-yard line on the football field at Columbia River High School.

The community poured out condolences on social media.

— River Flow (@RiverFlow360) May 28, 2017

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