Austin Man Missing In Idaho

Created: 05/05/2014 10:51 PM
By: John Doetkott

An Austin man went missing in Idaho this weekend after friends say he stopped beside a powerful river during a hike.

Dean Christianson of Austin had flown to Cascade, ID, to help his friend Jason Koehler move back to Minnesota.

ABC 6 spoke to Koehler by phone and he said they had just finished a hike when Christianson went down to the side of the Payette River to fill his water bottle.

"I couldn't quite see him, the river's edge was just slightly out of sight,” Koehler said. “I hopped out of the truck and looked over the guard rail and he wasn't there, so I ran down to the water's edge and looked both ways and he still wasn't there."

Koehler said he ran part of the way down the river before stopping a passing sheriff’s deputy.

Authorities quickly formed a search party, but in the fast and murky water, police said they found no sign of Christianson.

"There's really nothing I can do. I trust the search and rescue people, I trust that they did their best,” Koehler said. “But I also know the conditions of the river right now and it was twice as high as it is on average."

On Monday, ABC 6 also spoke to Jason Koehler's father Melvin, who is also Christianson’s neighbor, and he said Christianson came to their house a few times a week and is a man of deep faith who's always willing to help a friend.

"Dean is very kind, just your normal kind person, and gentle, also, and very enjoyable to talk to,” Melvin Koehler said. “He helped wherever he could."

On Monday, authorities said they have stopped their search but are still investigating the matter.

They are asking everyone in the area to keep a lookout for any signs of Christianson.