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Airboats needed: Family friends seek help looking for hunter



http://stories.baytownsun.com/story.las ... 3b3e5b6c06

Family, friends seek help looking for hunter

By Barrett Goldsmith
Baytown Sun

Published January 19, 2007

The cold, rainy weather Thursday couldn’t dampen the resolve of friends, family and concerned citizens who continued to search for a missing duck hunter whose boat capsized in Trinity Bay early this week.

They searched throughout the day and into the night, some on private boats in the bay, others slogging through the marshy land nearby. But no one has seen Matthew Hoover, 24, a lifelong Baytown resident and a graduate of Sterling High School.

Tiffany Davis, who works with Hoover at his father Allen’s all-terrain vehicle dealership, said Matt is a caring soul with a wonderful sense of humor. She said if people knew him, they would waste no time joining the search.

“We just need more people out there, as many as possible,� Davis said. “Time is of the essence right now. If you can come with a boat or just on foot, we need you.�

As he had done countless times before, Hoover went on a duck-hunting trip with two friends Monday. They set out from the Hugo Boat Ramp just off Gou Hole Road in Cove. At one point Monday afternoon, Hoover left from the group’s duck blind in his 16-foot johnboat to fetch some decoy ducks that had drifted too far. He never returned.

After several hours passed with no sign of Hoover, the friends notified the U.S. Coast Guard, who began a comprehensive search of the surrounding area, aided by local game wardens, friends and relatives. Tuesday afternoon, searchers located Hoover’s green boat, floating upside down with a few decoy ducks attached. On Wednesday, they found two life jackets and more decoy ducks on the shore.

By Wednesday evening, the Coast Guard suspended its search efforts. Coast Guard spokesman Dave Eggers said they had received word from the district office in New Orleans to halt the search because the team had already covered all the likely locations of Hoover. The Coast Guard also factored in other variables such as water temperature, time elapsed since the incident, the quality of the surrounding terrain, and the location of the boat and the life jackets.

He was last seen in the bay near Red’s Bayou and Cross Bayou. The life jackets, decoy ducks and a gas tank were found south of that location, near Smith Point. According to family members, Hoover was wearing Neoprene waders, which are somewhat buoyant, and a heavy coat.

“What we really need are people with shallow-water boats or airboats, and people familiar with the area near Red’s Bayou, Cross Bayou, Smith Point and Jack’s Point,� local hunter Mitchell Pearce said. “The family and friends have been working hard and are getting tired, so they need some help.�

Anyone wishing to help with the search may call Davis at 832-984-0909, or Pear Pearce at 281-844-8280. They may also attend a meeting at 7 a.m. today at Crawdaddy’s on Interstate10 at 565 near the Old and Lost rivers, at which the search effort will be coordinated.

Hoover is a consummate outdoorsman, enjoying the quiet peace and solitude of the hunt, whether ducks, deer or hogs. He has worked at the Allens’ All Terrain Vehicles and Cycles, selling and repairing vehicles, since he was old enough to work. He believes he may one day take the reigns of the company from his father.

“He loves to make other people feel good,� Davis said. “That’s just the kind of person he is.

For those interested in participating in the search for the missing Texas duck hunter the most recent contact numbers are:
Texas EquuSearch Office: Toll Free: 877-270-9500
Onsite coordinator: 281-830-0381
Do NOT respond on your own. Contact the phone numbers above before mobilizing.
The situation is currently being conducted as a "crime scene" by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. The search area encompasses a 25 square mile area. The family is requesting assistance, but all civilian efforts need to be coordinated through Texas EquuSearch.
I called the #'s in the first article before the last post and ended up talking to the Father of the young man that is missing. I found out later about the "investigation" and the Parks and Wildlife having one boat ramp closed. I would suggest calling the Equusearch # so they can utilize our resources where they need them, instead of everyone going over the same areas on their own. I will post more when I find out more details from the organized search.

http://stories.baytownsun.com/story.las ... 76d08d9c5b

Search for hunter enters day 6

By Barrett Goldsmith
Baytown Sun

January 20, 2007

A throng of citizens joined professional search-and-rescue teams in looking for a Baytown hunter Friday, racing against a nearing rainstorm and a clock that keeps ticking further away from his disappearance on Monday morning.

Between 12 and 14 boats filled the shallow waters from the Hugo Boat Ramp off Gou Hole Road to Double Bayou eight miles away, looking for any sign of 24-year-old Matt Hoover of Baytown. Those who didn’t have boats patrolled the shoreline, hoping to find Hoover clinging to life in the marshes around Trinity Bay.

Hoover was hunting ducks with friends when he took a small boat away from his duck blind to gather some decoy ducks. The friends lost sight of him shortly thereafter, and soon reported him missing after he failed to return.

The search is under the direction of game wardens from Texas Parks and Wildlife, with additional help from Equusearch, a non-profit organization that helps locate missing persons. The group takes its name from its origins as a horse-mounted search squad, but it now employs boats and other vehicles in its searches.

But the professionals and amateurs both believe success may depend largely on increased participation from local folks.

“We have a particular need for people with airboats and shallow-water crafts,� Mitchell Pearce said. “But we’re also urging people to go fishing and enjoy the water out there, and just keep your eyes open while you’re out there.�

But enjoying today may be a tall order, as forecasts indicate a near certainty of heavy rains throughout the day. Cindy Widsom of Equusearch said she is not going to send her search teams into potentially dangerous weather.

Wisdom said she has been impressed by the response of the community.

“The outpouring here has been amazing,� Wisdom said. “We were almost at the point of turning people away, but we still need as much help as possible.�

Experts acknowledge that as more time passes, the more difficult the search becomes, and that the window of opportunity of finding him alive is closing. But many hold out hope that Hoover could be camping out in one of the heated cabins with food stores that dot the shores of the bay.

“The marshes would be tough to navigate, but Matt is young, and that certainly helps,� game warden Bobby Jobe said.

Jobe said he has no timetable for suspending his team’s search, but he said today’s weather may curtail some of their patrols.
You all need to find out if anyone has one of the new hummingbird side sonar depth finders. I am the chief of our local search/recovery group and this unit works great. if i can help from here let me know.
News Alert Regarding Missing Texas Duck Hunter

The Texas Dept. of Parks & Wildlife has discontinued their involvement in the search for 24-year-old Matthew Hoover and has turned the search over to Texas EquuSearch.

Airboats are desperately needed for a search of a 25 square mile area of marsh and bayous. A weather front is expected to move through the area Saturday . . . (Saturday: Cloudy with occasional showers. High around 55F. Winds E at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 40%. . . . Sunday: Cloudy with a few showers. High 59F. Winds light and variable. Chance of rain 40%. http://weather.aol.com/main.adp?location=USTX0087 ) which is greatly expected to hamper the search effort.
Weather permitting, Texas EquuSearch is planning a full search effort Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.

Airboats are needed.There are numerous small islands and hundreds of fishing shacks and cabins in the area where Matthew could have sought shelter.

For information on participating in the search for 24-year-old Matthew Hoover contact: Texas EquuSearch at: 877-270-9500 or the TES onsite coordinator at: 281-830-0381

Your help will be appreciated by the Hoover family more than you can imagine! They want to see Matthew again.
Airboats Needed Sunday in Cove, Texas
for the Search of Missing Duck Hunter

Texas EquuSearch and the Hoover family need airboaters to search for Matthew Hoover. It is possible that Matthew is still alive and needs rescue.
Anyone with an airboat, within 100 miles of Baytown, Texas is requested to help. Contact: 281-830-0381. The Hoover family is requesting your help!

This situation could be similar to one at the mouth of the Savanna River last year where a 78 year old fisherman was "lost" for 9 days & survived. He was in tall coastal grass in plain sight of a CG station & could see & hear the rescue efforts. Hidden in plain sight..........
Your efforts could bring him home.

http://stories.baytownsun.com/story.las ... a02cbcbeac
No sign of hunter after week of searching

By Kari Griffin
Baytown Sun

January 21, 2007

The seventh day of the search for Matt Hoover, who went missing Monday morning, ended without finding the 24-year-old hunter.

Hoover of Baytown was last seen in Trinity Bay, where he separated from duck hunting companions to retrieve several duck decoys. The former Sterling High School student was wearing camouflage clothing, a heavy jacket and Neoprene waders when he disappeared in the heavy fog over the bay.

The U.S. Coast Guard called off their search Wednesday and Texas Parks and Wildlife called off its search Saturday, but Texas Equusearch will continue to look for Hoover over the weekend. Groups of family, friends and other concerned individuals could also be found searching the waters where Hoover’s boat was recovered. The green, 16 foot, johnboat was spotted Tuesday and brought on land by Parks and Wildlife game wardens Thursday.

Jason Scott, a fellow duck hunter was present when the boat was loaded onto the Ft. Anahuac Park boat ramp.

“It was in terrible condition,� said Scott.

He said the floorboard of the boat appeared to be gone. “It looked awful,� said Scott.

The 21-year-old Old River resident ventured out on an airboat with his father and a friend Saturday to take advantage of the last week of duck hunting season, which ends Jan. 28.

Scott said they usually set on their expeditions before 5 a.m. and return around noon. He said there are dangers in navigating boats through the early morning fog, and life jackets are essential for hunters.

“Your personal floatation device needs to be in the boat,� said Scott.

He said another danger that comes with the sport is the heavy clothing needed to keeping them warm on winter mornings. He and other hunters were not out searching for Hoover, but said they recognized the severity of the situation and were lending assistance by keeping their eyes open and being alert for possible sightings.

Cindy Wisdom of Equusearch said it is important the searchers and community not to lose hope. She said as many people as possible are needed to search on foot, in case Hoover made it to land and is “hunkered down waiting for help.�

Equusearch was forced to cancel(suspend) its search Saturday because of high winds that can be dangerous for small boats, but the non-profit search and recovery team will resume their efforts today if weather conditions allow it. The search will not be canceled on account of rain, but heavy winds are a factor.

Equusearch invites the community to join in the search, which will begin around 9 a.m. in Fort Anahuac Park, 1704 S. Main St. Wisdom said everyone can help, but they are especially looking for individuals with prop boats or airboats to help scour deep and shallow waters.

“We need people to do some more water searching and some land searching,� said Wisdom.

Wisdom said members of Equusearch would continue to look for the missing man for as long as it takes.

Anyone who wants information about assisting in the searches can call Tiffany Davis at 832-948-0909, Mitchell Pearce at 281-844-8280 or Cindy Wisdom at 281-830-0381.
Weather conditions for Texas search (Baytown, Texas)

http://www.srh.noaa.gov/forecast/MapCli ... X&site=HGX

Sunday: More clouds than sun. High 61F. Winds light and variable.
Sunday night: Cloudy with rain developing after midnight. Low 49F. Winds NNE at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 80%. Rainfall near a quarter of an inch.


(10°C) Humidity: 100 %
Wind Speed: Calm
Barometer: 29.96"
Dewpoint: 50°F (10°C
An update on the missing hunter in Texas

http://stories.baytownsun.com/story.las ... f8613cf143
Official: Many factors affect hunter search

By Kirk Ehlig
Baytown Sun

January 22, 2007

Search teams were out Sunday morning and into the afternoon braving the harsh weather searching for Matthew Hoover, 24, a lifelong Baytown resident and a graduate of Sterling High School.

Friends last saw Hoover when he set out in a 16-foot johnboat from the Hugo Boat Ramp just off Gou Hole Road in Cove Monday to retrieve duck decoys from Trinity Bay while hunting.

A group of people from Equusearch, a non-profit search and rescue organization that helps locate missing persons, set out on boats along with several game wardens from Texas Parks and Wildlife Sunday from Fort Anahuac Park to patrol the waters of the northern portion of Trinity Bay.

Cindy Wisdom of Equusearch said they are still in need of more people who are willing to donate equipment, time or money to the search. She said that anyone who wants to help should contact the organization by calling 281-309-9500.

“If you live in the area, on the water or near the water or fish or hunt on a regular basis, be diligent in watching for anything that might lead us to Matthew’s location,� she added.

Wisdom said they are in need of more watercraft to help them navigate the shallow shorelines of the bay, especially airboats.

Paul McElroy of Equusearch said there are so many factors that are affecting the search so far, including: the bad weather, the winds, the bay’s extreme tide range, muddy and cold water that is constantly moving, the river’s strong current, the depth of the water, lots of debris and the shear size of the area.

“There have been some tough ones, but with this one, there are a lot of unknown variables in the weather and the bay’s conditions,� said McElroy.

“This is a tough, tough search. We’ve got a very committed effort and are prepared for whatever time it may take.�

Wisdom said Hoover could be anywhere from the northern portion of the bay down to Bolivar Peninsula. Though the size of their search is large, Wisdom said they hope to find Hoover soon.

“We will be out here till we find him,� said Wisdom

Equusearch does multiple missing persons searches throughout the year and was involved with searches such as the ones after the hurricanes of 2005 in Louisiana. Volunteers of the group come from all walks of life bringing various specialties to each search. McElroy said that he and most of the people who help with organizations such as Equusearch are just trying act upon human nature and help their fellow man when in need.

John White, a member of Equusearch from Houston, said that he and the others help with searches like the one for Hoover because there is a possibility that anyone could go through the same situation.

“It can and possibility will happen to me someday, and I would appreciate any help I could get from anybody,� said White.


Search group seeking help with expenses

By Barrett Goldsmith
Baytown Sun

January 25, 2007

Community members who wish to help with the search effort for a missing Baytown hunter can now do so even if they can’t make it down to Trinity Bay.

Friends and family of Matt Hoover, 24, will be at two area Wal-marts Saturday and Sunday to collect donations that will help pay the costs for fuel, lost wages and other expenses incurred by the hundreds of folks who have lent their time and effort to the search.

“We don’t want anyone to keep from helping because they can’t afford it,� family friend Tiffany Davis said. “And we want to reimburse the people who have been out here literally every day to help us out.�

Davis, who works for Matt’s father, Allen, at Allen’s ATV and Cycles, has been one of the primary coordinators of the search, working almost nonstop for the family as it has tried to cope with the physical, financial and emotional demands that Matt’s disappearance has thrust on them.

Some of the money will also help the business — where Matt has worked as a mechanic and salesman — stay afloat after being closed throughout the search. Many of the company’s employees have aided in the search for the man who used to bring a smile to all their faces, and the faces of each customer Matt served so happily and diligently.

“We’re absolutely going to search until we find him,� Davis said. “Whether it’s having our boy back or having some kind of closure, his family deserves it.�

Davis will be at the Baytown Wal-mart, 4900 Garth Road, from 10 a.m. to about 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. She will then go to the Crosby Wal-mart, 14215 FM 2100, where she will be from some time after 4 until 8 p.m. A fundraising event has been tentatively scheduled for Feb. 3.

Potential donors can also call the Crosby State Bank, where the Hoovers have opened a special fund dedicated to the search, at 281-421-1942. They may also call Davis at 832-514-9365 for more information on helping with the search effort.

Cindy Wisdom of Equusearch, a non-profit search-and-rescue group, said the team needs airboats to go from island to island. She also said the search effort requires people to look into the several dozen cabins that dot the shores of the bay. And she urges anyone who owns a cabin in the area to go the cabin and inspect it for any signs of Hoover, especially if they have not been there since Hoover’s disappearance.

Hoover has not been since the morning of Jan. 15, when he disappeared while hunting ducks in Trinity Bay.
Well folks, is there ANY Texas or LA airboaters who are helping with this? Please let us know..
I'd love help, but the fuel cost for a 2400 mile round trip is out of the question right now..
Me to Bigkavr 1800 miles for me I wonder if Faron has got involved with this one he would know all the Airboaters in Texas
http://stories.baytownsun.com/story.las ... 6841dea6f4
Fund-raisers to fund search for hunter

By Kari Griffin
Baytown Sun

January 27, 2007

The search continues for a Baytown hunter who went missing 12 days ago.

Matt Hoover, 24, went duck hunting with friends on the morning of Jan. 15, and was last seen heading into Trinity Bay to retrieve duck decoys.

Friends of Hoover’s will be set up a donation stations at local Wal-marts, in an attempt to acquire enough donations to continue their search efforts for the former Sterling High School student.

“He is being very missed,� said Tiffany Davis, a friend of Hoover’s.

She is thankful for the extra eyes provided by fellow hunters and volunteers searching for Hoover, but she said continuing the search will cost money.

Davis estimated that $150 a day is spent on fuel for the boats. The family’s business has also been closed since Hoover went missing, so they are not brining money in to help pay for the supplies necessary to persist with the search.

Davis said a lot of people have expressed their desire to help, but “just don’t know what to do.�

Individuals with boats who to help find Hoover can search anywhere in Trinity Bay. Davis said they are also looking for people to help them check cabins in the area.

Hoover was wearing camouflage clothing, a heavy jacket and Neoprene waders when he disappeared into the foggy bay.

“We just need people out there,� said Davis.

A benefit for the missing hunter will be held Saturday, Feb. 3 at Allen’s ATV’s, N. Highway 146. The site is one block from Massey Tompkins. The event is free to the public and but donations will be accepted. Barbecue plates of brisket, chicken, sausage on a bun, chopped beef sandwiches, potato salad, baked beans, rolls, drinks and desert will be sold from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. Prices range from $5 to $7.50.

Davis is looking into the possibility of having a raffle at the benefit and welcomes any donations of items from individuals or businesses.

Davis will have a table set up today at Wal-mart in Baytown, 4900 Garth Road. She will be accepting contributions from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Hoover’s friends will also be taking a collection from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Wal-mart in Crosby, 14215 FM 2100.

For more information about searching or donating, call Davis at 832-514-9365 or Cindy Wisdom with EquuSearch. Davis is also looking for anyone willing to call businesses to request contributions toward the fund.

Donations can also be made the Search For Matthew Hoover Fund. This can be done by donating to one of the Crosby State Banks in the area, 281-328-4811 or 281-328-4822.

Davis said this could be anyone’s son, brother, or friends and community support could help the family to get whatever closure they can.

“It’s just the not knowing,� said Davis. “All of it together will hopefully help bring him home,� she said.
http://stories.baytownsun.com/story.las ... cc6f5f24cd

Missing hunter's body found in Texas City

By Kari Griffin
Baytown Sun

February 9, 2007

The search is over for a Baytown man who has been missing for more than three weeks.

The body found near the Texas City floodgate Wednesday has been identified as 25 year-old Matt Hoover, who was last seen Jan. 15.

Chambers County Sheriff Joe LaRive said it was “definitely� him.

Hoover disappeared into Trinity Bay during a duck-hunting trip on the morning of Jan. 15. The last time Hoover was seen alive, he was venturing back into the water to retrieve duck decoys. His green 16-inch Johnboat was found the next day with duck decoys attached.

There were two other men hunting with Hoover. So far, the Chambers County Sheriff’s Office has refused to name them, and has only interviewed one of the last two persons to see Hoover alive.

The Coast Guard, county game wardens, deputies, friends and family of Hoover’s have spent the weeks searching for the former Sterling High School student in water and on land surrounding Trinity Bay.

On Wednesday around 1:45 p.m., a fisherman contacted the Texas City Police Department to report the sighting of a body in the 5000 block of Skyline Drive, said Capt. Russell LaRoe. The man found near Galveston Bay, which connects to Trinity Bay, had a Texas Driver’s License in his pocket, identifying him as Matthew Hoover, said LaRive.

“The autopsy showed that it was going to be our hunter,� said LaRive.

Galveston police said they were uncertain how long the body had been there.

John Florence, chief investigator for the Galveston County medical examiner’s office, said clothing also matched what Hoover was last seen wearing.

Around 4 p.m. Thursday, the Galveston County medical examiner received fingerprint results, confirming that the man found was the same one locals have been searching for weeks.

LaRive and Florence stated that Hoover’s body displayed no signs of trauma or evidence indicating foul play.

For almost a month, Hoover’s loved ones have searched for closure and raised money to continue their search efforts. Tiffany Davis, Hoover’s friend and co-worker previously said local residents had shown amazing support of their efforts to find their missing friend. Members of the community who would like to continue with their support for the Hoover family can still make donations to Crosby State Bank, to help the family pay for funeral expenses, or recover some of the funds spent in searches.
I wish thing would have turned out differant what a waste of life, at least the family has some closure, just wish I would have been closer than 800 miles away so I could have helped in the Search