Man dies hunting in Skamokawa


November 16, 2023

A Longview man died last Friday while hunting with his son in the woods above Skamokawa.

The Wahkiakum County Sheriff’s Department received a call at 4:48 p.m. from the son who became concerned when his father did not return to their vehicle. His father was last seen around 7 a.m.; he was 81 and had a heart condition.

A search began at 8 p.m. on state land at the end of Middle Valley Road and the man was found less than two hours later, about a quarter mile from the truck, according to Undersheriff Gary Howell.

Robert Michael Williams, 81, of Longview, died of natural causes, according to Wahkiakum County Coroner Dan Bigelow.

Wahkiakum County Deputy Lucas Getman who leads the local volunteer Search and Rescue team said that while it was not the outcome they hoped for, he was grateful for the response from the volunteers, dispatchers, agency partners, and administrative support who stepped up to help.

“Yesterday we had a hiker/hunter call in his missing father and our team was on it from the jump,” Getman said. “Every step of the way we had people stepping up and out of their comfort zones. We had deputies both new and seasoned in the backwoods, a foreign land to some.”

The response was a collaboration between the sheriff’s office, the SAR team, Dan Cothren in his professional role in forest security, and emergency personnel from Skamokawa who were there on standby, ready to provide aid.

“We went to the person’s vehicle and started searching the immediate vicinity,” Getman said. “Three teams conducted hasty tasks, searching trails and roads nearby.”

A drone with thermal applications was requested from Cowlitz County authorities, but arrived too late.

Bigelow praised responders.

“They were well staffed and professional,” Bigelow said.


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