Search for missing camper at Lake Meredith continues for 3rd day

Search for missing camper at Lake Meredith continues for 3rd day
A GoFundMe has been started to help out Ryan Kennedy's family. (Source: Apollo MedFlight)

FRITCH, Texas (KFDA) - Today marks the third day of the search for a hunter and camper who has been missing at Lake Meredith since Sunday.

While officials were calling this search a rescue, the National Parks Service says they are now looking at a recovery.

After searching the land where Ryan Kennedy was camping the past two days, responders are now searching the water.

“We have not found any additional personal belongings to him or anything to indicate that the boat would be anywhere other than the lake,” said Eric Smith, the Lake Meredith Superintendent. “So we are pulling our efforts back so we concentrate all of our efforts on the water search today and moving forward, which is why we want to bring in some additional resources.”

Because of the high winds the night Ryan Kennedy went missing, if his boat were underwater, it could be anywhere.

Today we learned the items found in the water belonging to Kennedy were not in the direct path of where he would have been crossing, but they were found further south. Officials say this is most likely due to the high winds coming out of the north that night.

We also learned the deer he had killed was found in the water with the rest of the personal items.

All of this leads investigators to search the water only.

“We want to be able to search the area a lot faster than we are currently searching because we want to be able to give the family some closure, and we want to be able to find the boat and where it really went down,” said Smith “That’s part of the challenge is we have no point where it went down, so we are searching an area that’s basically about three square miles, so it’s fairly large.”

These challenges have led Smith to reach out and borrow a high tech sonar scanner from Denver that will give a clear outline of what the bottom of the lake looks like much faster and more accurately than the scanners being used now.

“This sonar technology, you can pretty much get the shape and what something looks like on the bottom,” said Smith. “So a target would come up, and if it’s in the shape of a boat, we would verify that and then put divers down on that. But even, I’ve used it in the past whenever I was at Lake Powell, Glen Canyon National Recreational Area, and this technology is good enough if there were a body on the bottom of the lake, we would be able to distinguish that as well using sonar technology.”

Along with boats in the water, air searches will continue so rescuers can spot if something rises to the surface over the next few days.

“If something is suspended in the water column, the water’s not real clear here, so we wouldn’t see anything on the bottom from the air, but if anything does float up or is suspended, there is a potential of being able to see that from the air, so we still will use the air resources when we have the opportunity,” said Smith.

The National Parks Service says they recognize the extra emotion the time of year can add to a case such as this and are working to bring Kennedy’s family closure before Christmas.

If you would like to donate to help Kennedy’s family during this difficult time, you can do so here.

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