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Other bodies remain in Lost Creek Lake

I saw your story about the Idaho volunteers who helped find the body of a man who drowned at Lost Creek Lake. Why don’t they search for other bodies that have been missing in the lake?

— Addie, via Facebook message

When we spoke with sonar expert Gene Ralston of Kuna, Idaho, about their efforts to find the body of 29-year-old Juan Carlos Fuentes, Ralston described recovering someone completely different as a very real possibility during the search.

Ralston, who with the help of his wife have volunteered in about 118 recoveries across the country since 1999, said they have found bodies that weren’t the target of their search before.

Ralston said Thursday that he’s gotten into the habit of saying he and his wife “found something” when they spot a promising target, in order to avoid giving false hope to the families of the missing person, who often pay for the Ralstons’ mileage.

The same technology used to find Fuentes this week helped Jackson County Search and Rescue in 2006, when investigators found the body of Brian Nisbet, who drowned in September 2001 after jumping off Peyton Bridge.

When they found the body in 2006, investigators weren’t sure whether it was Nisbet or the body of Theodore Calouri of Williams, who went missing in the same area in August 1999 and never surfaced.

Lost Creek Lake often holds on to its secrets.

In 1998, Fred Raymond Jennings of Medford disappeared when he swam after his fishing boat that drifted away.

The earliest disappearance we’re aware of occurred July 29, 1980, when Frank Wisnovsky of Ruch drowned while he was involved in the lake’s boat ramp construction.

Wisnovsky, who owned Valley View Vineyard, was in the process of diving down to secure a cable at the lake bottom, but he never surfaced.

Although they never found Wisnovsky, it was not for lack of trying. An underwater search lasting a week followed Wisnovsky’s disappearance, and crews used then-state-of-the art underwater video cameras, but poor visibility hampered the search.

Bodies were recovered in several of the most recent drownings reported at the lake: the Fuentes brothers in early June, 69-year-old Charles Steven Schnell in March of 2016, and Thomas Eugene Lamb in June of 2015.

Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@rosebudmedia.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.