Man leaves for fishing trip, disappears

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April 24, 2007

A Columbia County man left for a fishing trip last week and has been missing ever since. Mike Bowman hasn't been seen since Friday (April 20).

The Department of Natural Resources says they along with Wilkes County and Lincoln County EMS teams have spent the last 72 hours scouring the woods, covering at least nine miles on foot.

Mike's wife Susan hasn't been able to eat or sleep in the last three days.

"When 9:30 rolled around, I just got this feeling something wasn't right," she said. "He's out there somewhere in the woods."

She says he loved the tranquil waters and was so hooked on the sport he'd often go for just a few hours and return by sunset the same day.

But this time it would be different.

Susan later learned Mike never made it to work that night. He never called or left a message.

"It's something I would never wish on my worst's the not knowing part," she said.

After she called the sheriff's office, DNR and EMS started an intensive search by land and on the water.

They found Mike's truck parked at a nearby marina.

"I jumped out and opened the door and saw his driver's license," Susan said.

Just a few miles away, DNR found Mike's boat floating in the river.

"No signs of foul play," Inv. Jimmy Harrison with Wilkes County said.

But Mike left behind critical clues for investigators, clues that lead them to believe he may have disappeared because he wanted to.

"The truck was found in McDuffie County, and there was some sort of note in it," Inv. Harrison said.

But with no solid evidence to go on, Susan remains optimistic her husband will return...and now it's just a matter of time.

"Until you know something for sure, definitely for sure, you just got to keep hoping," she said.

The Georgia State Patrol lent their helicopter to DNR this morning to help in the search.

They're expected to be back out in the area tomorrow, this time bringing help from the Army Corps of Engineers.

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