Body of missing hunter found; hunting dog refuses to leave master's side

The body of a hunter missing since Tuesday night was found Wednesday afternoon in the Palouse River, near Delong Road in St. John. Scott Heimbigner, from Odessa, is believed to have slipped on ice, causing him to fall into the river. Whitman County Sheriff Brett Myers says he believes Heimbigner died of exposure, although the Whitman County Coroner will make the final determination. Temperatures dipped into single digits Tuesday night and there were several inches of snow on the ground.

Heimbigner was out hunting birds with a friend near the Palouse river. His hunting partner left for home Tuesday night, leaving behind a note for his friend to call when he got back. That call never came, and worried about his friend, the man contacted the property owner where they were hunting. A search started Tuesday night.

Heimbigner's vehicle was found about 9pm Tuesday, but he was nowhere near it. A helicopter from Fairchild Air Force Base was launched Wednesday to help search for him in the area southeast of St. John. They couldn't launch it earlier because of foggy conditions. Volunteer firefighters joined the Whitman County County Sheriff's deputies in the search.


Scott Heimbigner was out hunting with his dog, a yellow lab named Tess. In a display of extreme loyalty, when rescuers found his body, they also found the Tess, alive and refusing to leave her master's side.