Angler's body found in Smith

January 19, 2007 11:00 pm

By Nicholas Grube

Triplicate staff writer

Specially trained dogs helped the Del Norte County Sheriff's Office locate the body of a Crescent City man who has been missing since Jan. 5.

On Friday, the dogs found Chester Bolen's body in the Smith River approximately 500 feet downstream from where he initially fell in.

Commander Bill Steven said DNCO Search and Rescue arranged to have the animals brought from the California Rescue Dog Association in Nevada County.

CARDA, as it's better known, is a group of volunteers with over 114 search dog teams in the state of California. The team assisting in Bolen's search consisted of two volunteers and three certified water dogs trained to locate the scent of human decomposition rising from under the water.

Steven said that once the dogs were on the boats and in the area they "hit," or indicated, a scent right away.

"When they had all three dogs hitting in the same area they put the divers in," he said. DNCO Divers recovered Bolen's body, which was submerged 15 to 20 feet underwater, and positively identify him at the scene.

This is the culmination of a two-week, multi-departmental search for Bolen, who fell in while fishing on the Smith River.

Bolen, 39, was with Steven Restad, 39, of Eugene, Ore. in a drift boat when their anchor fell into the water and was caught on something. This pulled the boat and both its passengers, neither wearing flotation devices, under the current.

Restad swam to safety, while Bolen was last seen struggling to stay above water.