Man's remains stuck in Spokane River, conditions too dangerous for recovery

It's a story that has family and first responders alike devastated. Back in April, witnesses say a man crashed his car into the Spokane River. Because the waters are so high and dangerous, a recovery of both the car and the man inside, is just not safe.

"He was a funny, a happy go lucky guy," said Kate Monday about her brother James. "He was just you know, loving life."

Kate says she believes in her heart, James is dead. The siblings used to talk weekly, but she hasn't heard a thing since April 21st and neither has anyone else.

"He's had no activity whatsoever," she said.

Like James' family, friend Tracy Owens is also convinced he's gone. Shortly after he went missing she made missing person posters, pleading for witnesses to come forward. It didn't take long to learn that a car, matching James', crashed into the Spokane River the last night anyone recalls seeing him. KHQ was there as police and fire crews worked that scene back in April.

The car is still submerged, but Tracy says car parts left on shore fuel her fears.

"Everything matches, it matches the timeline, it matches the vehicle and he was in this area," she said.

But no one can be certain until the car, and presumably James' body are recovered.

"It's just horrifying to know he not only met such an untimely death at the age of 33,  but that he's just been sitting in that river for 20 days," Tracy said. "He's a father, he's a son, he's a brother, our friend, he's a human being."

Conditions are still too dangerous for first responders to give the confirmation, loved ones say they already have in their hearts. They don't want anyone else getting hurt. It could be June for progress is made.

"I feel so bad for his mother that she'll have to identify him somehow," Tracy said.

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