Grays Harbor man likely swept away in flood

Law enforcement personnel located the car keys and cellphone of a 39-year-old Grays Harbor County man, who is believed to have been swept away by fast-moving floodwaters after his vehicle broke down near Porter Creek Road West in Elma on Sunday morning, Jan. 9.

Timothy Warren, of Malone, was reported missing after he called a friend to tow his vehicle, which he had driven into floodwaters on Porter Creek Road West. The car keys and cellphone were located in the rocks on the edge of the roadway on Tuesday, Jan. 11.

“Investigators believe these items were dropped by Warren after he exited his vehicle and tried to walk out of the swiftly moving floodwaters,” said Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Office Undersheriff Brad Johansson in a statement on Tuesday. “It is believed that Warren may have been swept away in the floodwaters.”

Warren told his friend that his vehicle had become disabled. But when his friend arrived on-scene about 2:30 a.m. Sunday, he could not locate Warren although he did find the unidentified vehicle.

Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Office deputies were subsequently advised of the situation and arrived at the location about 3:36 a.m. Sunday “but were unable to launch a boat due to darkness and the extremely dangerous water conditions,” Johansson said in an earlier statement.

The sheriff’s office requested assistance from the Thurston County Swift Water Rescue Team, who determined it was not safe to enter the water until it was daylight. The rescue team conducted an initial search at daylight, but did not locate Warren.

The sheriff’s office also requested help from the Pacific County Sheriff’s Office to search the area with their drone, which is equipped with thermal imaging. However, that search also failed to turn up the missing man.

As the flood waters receded, Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Office and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife personnel searched the area in boats but were also unable to locate Warren. The two agencies have been searching the area since the incident was reported.

“Investigators have determined it is very unlikely that Warren was picked up by another person,” Johansson said in an earlier statement.