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Authorities suspect he fell into the river and drowned

by Laura McVicker, Herald and News 2/22/07

   The body of a Tulelake man was found early Wednesday in the Smith River, nearly a week after California authorities suspect he fell into the river and drowned.
   Authorities recovered the body of Robert Woodman, 56, about a mile downstream from where he had been fishing Feb. 15 on shore between the towns of Gasquet and Hiouchi, near Crescent City.
   A search dog detected his scent and a fisherman on shore spotted his body, said Terry McNamara, coordinator of the Del Norte County Sheriff’s Office’s search and rescue team. Woodman’s body was in about five feet of water.
   Authorities say there was no obvious signs of foul play, and believe Woodman slipped off a rock into the water and drowned.
   “We will never know exactly what happened,” McNamara said.
   Autopsy performed
   An autopsy was performed late Wednesday to rule out other causes of death, said Tim Athey, operations commander for the sheriff’s office. As of press time, results weren’t available to the media.
   Woodman, an experienced fisherman, and his wife were staying at a Hiouchi RV park for a trip. Woodman’s wife reported her husband missing the evening of Feb. 15 when he didn’t return to the park after a fishing trip alone.
   The next day, friends of Woodman spotted his body floating down the river, but couldn’t retrieve him because of the strong currents.
   Woodman is a thirdgeneration Tulelake Basin farmer.

Woodman, Robert Ray, Bob, 56, Tulelake-Butte Valley Fairgrounds in Home Ec. building in Tulelake, 1 p.m. Sunday.

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