Bethel Search and Rescue is scaling back its search efforts for a missing man who’s disappearance is possibly related to a recent boat accident. The group is waiting for Alaska State Troopers to gather more information on the case.
Twenty-eight-year-old Stacey Hoagland of Akiak was reported missing last Thursday. That same day, the body of 25-year-old Holly Mayeda was found floating in a slough below Napakiak. The events are suspected to be connected.
Bethel Search and Rescue says that before they disappeared, both Hoagland and Mayeda are reported to have been at the same party at a fish camp on Straight Slough, upriver from Bethel. Troopers found a boat submerged near the island across from Bethel the day after Mayeda’s body was discovered. The three clues — Mayeda’s body, the fish camp and the boat— are all within a 20-mile range. A large area.
False rumors circulated that Troopers told Search and Rescue groups to stand down. Instead, Bethel Search and Rescue Vice President Perry Barr says that the Bethel group decided to rein in its search until more information became available. The Troopers are investigating the incidents, and Search and Rescue hopes to use any information gathered to narrow its search. The members want to give Hoagland’s family the peace and closure that recovering his body would bring.
On Tuesday afternoon, at least six boats, half from Bethel and half from Kasigluk, were looking for the missing Hoagland. The volunteers roamed the water and land around the slough where Holly Mayeda’s body had been found. Bethel Search and Rescue Canine D.O.G. is with them. Some Bethel members stayed up late Monday night, relearning how to operate the group’s underwater camera so that they would be prepared to take it out on Tuesday.