douglas sheriff

BRIDGEPORT – A local man drowned Aug. 4 in Lake Rufus Woods above Chief Joseph Dam.

Manuel De Jesus Galarza-Martinez, 26, was swimming with friends when he went underwater, said Douglas County Sheriff Kevin W. Morris. When he did not resurface, his friends dove in, found him unresponsive and pulled him to shore, then called for help.

Deputies were dispatched at 7:09 p.m. Sunday. They found Galarza-Martinez lying on the shore and unresponsive, Morris said.

“Deputies attempted life saving measures, but were ultimately unsuccessful,” he said.

Galarza-Martinez is the second man to drown in the Bridgeport area in recent months.

On April 16, searchers pulled the body of Alexander Bravo-Marroquin, 20, Bridgeport, from Washburn Island Pond, a few miles downstream from Chief Joseph Dam.

He had been canoeing with his 18-year-old brother, Jesus Bravo-Marroquin, on April 4 when their canoe overturned. Only Jesus Bravo-Marroquin made it to shore, said Okanogan County Sheriff Tony Hawley.

Volunteers and workers with several agencies searched for Alexander Bravo-Marroquin. Ralston and Associates Underwater Search and Rescue, Idaho, was called to assist and located the man’s body.

Two men remain missing in the area.

On May 29, a 14-foot boat belonging to Charles Baker, 81, was found drifting on Lake Rufus Woods and his pickup truck and boat trailer were found at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers boat launch above the dam. Baker was last seen May 27 and has not been seen since, said Morris.

No foul play is suspected in his disappearance.

Kenneth J. Leslie, a Sedro Woolley man who went overboard from his boat in June 2014 while fishing in the Columbia River upstream from Chief Joseph Dam, remains missing and is presumed drowned. A death certificate was issued in September 2015.

Leslie and his common-law wife, Colleen L. Gillogly were taking fishing and camping gear to a camping spot from a boat launch on the Columbia near the Timm Ranch when their boat swamped. Leslie never resurfaced.

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