Into second week, crews remain committed, undeterred in search for missing hunters

Published 8:33 am Sunday, December 13, 2020

Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace said terminating the search for two duck hunters who went missing on Dec. 3 has not been discussed and is not being considered.

The search for two missing hunters on the Mississippi River is now covering an area from north of LeTourneau Landing in Vicksburg south to Natchez.

The search is now stretching further into a second week. Despite the use of dozens of search teams on land and on water and a variety of aircraft, including drones and aircraft with thermal imaging, the two hunters — Zeb Hughes, 21, from Wesson, and 16-year-old Gunner Palmer, of Brookhaven — remain missing.

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“We have not even discussed terminating the search,” Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace said late Saturday. “It has not even been a topic of discussion.”

Pace, who joined deputies from the Warren County Sheriff’s Office and crews from the Mississippi Department of Wildlife and Fisheries on the water Saturday, said the search is now focused solely on the water, with crews launching from LeTourneau, Port Gibson and Natchez.

Saturday’s search began at 10 a.m., delayed by heavy fog along the river. The search was expected to resume Sunday morning.

Pace said that weather permitting, the search would again include aircraft over the targeted area in the “next day or two.”

The search began late Dec. 3, after Hughes and Palmer failed to return from a planned duck hunting trip along the Mississippi River. The pair had put in at LeTourneau Landing earlier that day.

Searchers put out on the river that day. The pair’s boat was found the following day, and searchers found items belonging to the hunters in the days following. The two remained missing.