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Search suspended for missing boater

The Coast Guard has suspended its search for a Harrietts Bluff woman who was reported missing Monday morning after she didn’t return from a boating trip with her husband Sunday.

Laura Hutchins, 61, and her husband, Raymond Hutchins, 59, left a Harrietts Bluff dock at about 11 a.m. Sunday. Hutchins was found dead Tuesday near the mouth of the Satilla River.

A Georgia DNR crew found the couple’s empty 21-foot boat — with the engine running and their dog still aboard — Monday near the north end of Jekyll Sound.

After searching nearly 1,002 square nautical miles in about 60 hours, the effort was called off at about 9 p.m. Wednesday pending any new developments.

"One of the most difficult decisions I make as a captain is the decision to suspend a search-and-rescue case. I take it very seriously," said Capt. Gary Tomasulo, commander, Coast Guard Sector Charleston. "It’s never easy to see a case end in suspension and that’s why we’re dedicated to standing by the Hutchins family in this difficult time. Our search wouldn’t have been as thorough if it weren’t for the incredible level of support brought by our local partners. I thank them for their efforts.”

Coast Guard, Coast Guard Auxiliary, Georgia Department of National Resources and Camden County Sheriff’s Office crews helped with the search by boat and helicopter.

Tribune & Georgian

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