Body of trooper discovered as crews fill hole

BIG LAKE, Mo. (AP) — The body of a Missouri highway patrolman who disappeared while watching over flooded areas last summer was found Thursday not far from the original search area, authorities said.

Fred Guthrie Jr., 46, had not been seen since Aug. 1, when his still-running truck, with a trailer attached, was found northeast of the village of Big Lake in northwest Missouri’s Holt County. His remains were found in a brush pile within 200 or 300 yards of the original search site as crews filled a hole in a state highway, said Highway Patrol spokesman Capt. Tim Hull.

After Guthrie’s disappearance, troopers repeatedly and unsuccessfully combed farm fields but only managed to find the remains of his canine partner, Reed. The patrol declared Guthrie dead in September, and a funeral and memorial service were held for the father of three last month. Troopers had been assigned to the construction site where Guthrie’s remains were found.

“The recovery of Trooper Guthrie’s body will give closure and comfort to the family, community and members of the patrol,” Col. Ronald K. Replogle, the patrol’s superintendent, said in a written statement.

Guthrie, a 17-year patrol veteran, served in the Water Patrol Division. He was assigned a boat and trailer and patrolled the region while many people couldn’t return to their homes because of the flooding Missouri River.

His duties had included hauling people to their flooded homes if they had an emergency, rescuing anyone who became stranded in the water, and patrolling to ensure that valuable farm equipment left by homeowners was not stolen or vandalized.

“There is no higher calling than serving and protecting the public as Trooper Guthrie did for 17 years,” said Jerry Lee, director of the Department of Public Safety. “I thank the Guthrie family for Trooper Guthrie’s brave and dedicated service, and know that the Highway Patrol will continue to support and comfort the Guthrie family.”

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