Police & Fire

Schmitt Asks State Reps to Aid in Search of Missing Brothers

The road in Bitterroot National Forest where the hunters' SUV went off the road and into the Selway River Credits: Photo courtesy of Idaho County Sheriff's Office

GRANGEVILLE, IDAHO - Town Supervisor Ken Schmitt has asked lawmakers in Idaho and Montana to provide resources that would enable the Idaho County Sheriff’s Department to continue its search for two missing Mahopac brothers.

Brothers Raymond and Jesse Ferrieri, ages 24 and 21, went missing while bear hunting in the Bitterroot National Forest along the Idaho/Montana border after the SUV they were riding in crashed into the Selway River on May 21. Two hunters from Georgia were able to escape and get to the shore, but the brothers, along with guides Koby J. Clark, 21, of Bozeman, Mont., and Reece L. Rollins, 22, of Terrebonne, Ore., remained unaccounted for. The two men who were able to escape were Jesse Gunin and Jason Lewis of Georgia.

It took rescuers several days to remove the SUV from the raging waters of the Selway, and when they did, the vehicle was empty.

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Searchers and volunteers used helicopters, rescuers on horseback, kayaks and search dogs to canvas the river and surrounding area all through the Memorial Day weekend as the Ferrieri family and friends held out hope for a miracle that the young men would be found.

But on Tuesday May 29, Idaho law enforcement officials called off the search for the four missing men. Idaho County Sheriff Doug Giddings told the Missoulian newspaper that searchers found a boot, but nothing more, despite the help of a fast-water diver and float and ground teams from both Idaho and Montana.

At a special session of the Town Board on Wednesday, May 30, Schmitt said that he had spoken with Idaho State Sen. Chuck Winder and Montana State Rep. Mike Cuffe. Schmitt said both Winder and Cuffe offered to help by contacting Sheriff Giddings, whom they know personally, for an update and to discuss the incident and search.

“[Giddings] called off the search and rescue/recovery efforts; that is no longer ongoing. We believe it should be ongoing. We need to know why it isn’t,” Schmitt said. “We are hoping that these two representatives, after speaking with Sheriff Giddings, will offer some resources to help and maybe continue the operation out there. Let’s keep the Ferrieri family and these boys in our thoughts and prayers and hope for a safe return home. Maybe they are out in that wooded area somewhere. It’s the backcountry and it’s incredibly rugged. But hopefully they made it to shore and they are out there somewhere and will be found safe.”

Schmitt said the brothers’ parents, along with their younger brother, are in Idaho keeping vigil.

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