Recovery effort for boy missing on Yellowstone River continues

Posted at 11:19 AM, Aug 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-08 13:19:56-04

LIVINGSTON – Law enforcement agencies and volunteers are focusing their search for 15-year-old James Anderson about three miles downstream from the site where the boat he was traveling in with family and a friend capsized. His mother, Angie Anderson, died at the location of the accident.

Anderson is the son of Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office Captain Jim Anderson. The father survived the June 27th accident along with his 18-year-old daughter and a friend of James.

“When that kind of tragedy meets head-on with the relationships that you have with people that you know personally the emotional factor of it does go up,” says Park County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Brad Bichler.

The Park County Sheriff’s Office is taking the lead in the recovery effort. Sgt. Brad Bichler says 18 agencies have lent a hand plus many volunteers. Much of the river access has been granted by private landowners.

Included in the search effort is Chapter, a collie mix with Western Montana Search Dogs. Her handler, Colette Daigle-Berg, says Chapter has indicated multiple times that the scent of Anderson is present.

Daigle-Berg says Chapter can pick up the scent of a body trapped beneath the water because gases float to the surface. She says even though the dog’s sense are extremely heightened it’s difficult to locate the missing because scents can linger days after someone has passed an area.

“This is hugely challenging,” says Daigle-Berg. “River searches are probably the most challenging of everything we do.”

Sgt. Bichler says despite there being a connection to the law enforcement community the same amount of dedication goes into every recovery to help a family get closure.

“Everyone is very, very driven to find James and bring him home,” said Sgt. Bichler.