Search of missing Illinois boater put on hold due to storm

UPDATE: Debra Lane spoke to Local 6 around 1:30 p.m. Saturday and said crews were out on the water this morning. The search for Michael Dewayne Rodgers paused last night due to the strong storms moving through.

Lane said crews went back out this morning to continue the search, but were docking as we were on the phone with her. She said the crews are pausing again to let the next line of storms move through. Once the storm clears up, crews plan on going back out to continue the search.


ROSICLARE, IL — Crews in Hardin County, Illinois, temporarily suspended the search on the Ohio River for a missing boater because of Friday evening’s strong storms.

Michael Dewayne Rodgers, 30, was bowfishing with four other men Thursday night on the river near Rosiclare City Park when their boat capsized, said his fiancée, Debra Lane.

“We’re going to assume that he rough river current had something to do with (the boat capsizing), said Jessica Hershey, coordinator of Hardin County EMA.

Hershey said the boat capsized around t 11 p.m. Thursday. Rodgers vanished, but the four other men made it to shore.

Several boats were out on the water looking for Rodgers. Hershey said crews were using sonar. In addition, a helicopter and a plane helped with the search as well, before it was suspended late Friday afternoon due to the approaching storm.

Lane said people on the Kentucky side of the river were also combing through the woods, but did not find any sign of Rodgers.

Lane said she and Rodgers have a 9-month-old son, Sebastian.

“I don’t know how to tell a child that his father is not here. But everyone here is making me keep the hope that we’re going to find him,” said Lane. “Jessica Fricker and Jessica Hershey have all reminded that this is a search and rescue, and that they’re not going to stop until he’s home.”

Lane said Rodgers was wearing a black shirt and light colored jeans. He also had a gray Cardinals hat with a black bill. Rodgers has curly hair, and is bald on the top of his head, Lane said. He also has a goatee. In addition, he has tattoos of a skunk and a flaming skull on his right arm, and a devil and the letters TFT on his left arm.

“Whatever the outcome, to just bring him home so me and his son can have closure,” said Lane. “I would love for him to come home and be able to hug me. But if not, I still – we still  need the closure. He is a great man. He helped anybody that he could.”

If anyone has information on where Rodgers is, contact the Hardin County, Illinois, Sheriff’s Office at 618-287-2271.

Lane added that anyone with a boat and safety equipment who wishes to help with the search can contact the sheriff’s office as well.

There is no word yet on when the search will resume.

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