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Wednesday, September 27, 2023
Sept. 27, 2023

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Body of missing Vancouver man found in Idaho

By , Columbian staff reporter

The body of a Vancouver man who was last seen the night of May 19 leaving a campsite in Baker County, Ore., was found Thursday a few miles downriver from his campsite.

Baker and Malheur County, Ore., deputies were patrolling the waterway Thursday near Huntington, Ore., searching for Lan Hung Nguyen, 40. At about 3 p.m., deputies were notified an Idaho Power employee had found a body in the water near Steck Park, which is across the Snake River from Huntington, according to a Friday news release.

When deputies arrived, they confirmed the body was Nguyen’s, the Baker County Sheriff’s Office said.

“Sheriff (Travis) Ash offers his sincere condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Nguyen during this tragic time,” the news release states.

The Baker County Sheriff’s Office had responded at about 6:30 a.m. May 20 to a report of a missing camper near Farewell Bend State Park.

Nguyen’s friends said he walked away from their campsite at about 10 p.m. May 19 and hadn’t returned, according to a Monday sheriff’s office news release.

Patrol and marine deputies, along with search and rescue crews, responded to the area, which was about a quarter-mile north of the main boat ramp at the state park. A boat crew searched the shoreline of the Snake River, and other crews, including Nguyen’s friends, searched the nearby hillside. A K-9 and deputy joined the searches on the hillside and shoreline. The sheriff’s office said the steep hillside had brushy terrain and several shallow canyons.

Crews found shoes that reportedly belonged to Nguyen just above the shoreline near the campsite, according to the earlier news release.

Investigators said they believe shortly after he walked away from the campsite, Nguyen fell down an embankment and into the Snake River.

Another boat and K-9 unit, along with more ground search crews, responded in the afternoon to help. Deputies also spoke with nearby campers and boaters, but no one reported seeing Nguyen.