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Skamania deputies call off search for missing mushroom picker

The Skamania County Sheriff’s Office has suspended its search for an Oregon man missing in Gifford Pinchot National Forest.

The sheriff’s office said Tuesday that searches were conducted Saturday and Sunday for Richard L. Sugai, 78, of Beaverton, Ore., but he could not be located.

Sugai was reported overdue from a mushroom-picking day trip late afternoon Oct. 19. Sugai’s last known location was Forest Service Road 60, about 10 miles north of Carson, according to the sheriff’s office.

Sugai was in the area with family, who has reportedly picked mushrooms there for decades, according to the sheriff’s office. The family told deputies that Sugai has a condition that requires daily medication. He was dressed for the torrential rain, but his clothing was darkly colored.

Deputies started looking for Sugai that same day. Teams scoured the woods through the night but could not find him. Other mushroom pickers and people at hunting camps were alerted about the missing man.

The search efforts continued for the next three days until the sheriff’s office temporarily suspended their efforts due to a lack of resources.

Sugai’s family asked for privacy but provided a statement to authorities:

“While we never want to give up hope, with each passing day we believe we have been transitioning from a mission of rescue to one of recovery. We would like to take this opportunity to commend the exemplary work from the Silver Star Search and Rescue teams, the Skamania County Sheriff’s Department, the U.S. Forest Service, and any and all other individuals involved — all of their words of encouragement and kind thoughts have been of great comfort to our family.”


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