‘Beloved’ Deputy Fire Chief Who Went Missing on Hunting Trip Found Dead After 12-Day Search

by Madison Miller

The long search for a Seattle fire deputy chief has sadly ended in tragedy. His body was found in the mountains east of Seattle two weeks after he had gone missing.

Jay Schreckengost was on an elk hunting trip with his son near Cliffdell. He last communicated with someone on November 2. His lack of communication sparked concern among the community, who worked together to try to find the fire chief.

Body of Fire Chief Found in Mountains Near Seattle

According to USA Today, the Kittitas County Sheriff Department launched a search effort for the man. It included a total of 60 different agencies and hundreds of people. The search ended on Sunday when his body was found only a half-mile from where his pickup had been left.

“We’re saddened to give news of Chief Schreckengost’s passing to his family and fellow firefighters, and we ask the public and press to respect their privacy as they grieve his loss,” Sheriff Clay Myers said.

The investigation surrounding his death is still ongoing. There is no current evidence supporting possible foul play of any kind. The coroner will soon determine the official cause of death.

Thankfully, the large search effort was able to give the family of Schreckengost a sense of closure. The Seattle Fire Department also shared an Instagram post after finding out about Schreckengost’s recent death.

“We are incredibly saddened by this news and are all grieving the loss of one of our own. Deputy Chief Schreckengost was a husband, father, and friend to all, and our hearts are with his family right now who have been at the site every day searching alongside search and rescue, fire, and law enforcement agencies,” the post said along with two photos of the fire chief.

The post devastatingly ended with, “We will always remember you Jay, you are forever in our hearts.”

Remains Found in Grand Teton National Park

A couple of weeks ago, rescuers recovered the body of Jared Hembree, a 26-year-old man from Texas.

According to CBS News, the man’s body was near Uhl Hill, which is in the eastern portion of the park. His search had about 80 individuals spread out in the park.

“The park and all those involved in the search extend their condolences to Jared Hembree’s family and friends,” the park said in the statement. He is amongst several deaths to occur in the Grand Tetons. Another Texas man, Robert Lowery’s body turned up in Bridger-Teton National Forest in September. This is the same spot in which Gabby Petito’s remains were also found.

Similarly, the body of a 5-year-old New Hampshire boy was found in a Massachusetts state park last month. According to CNN, he had been missing for over a month. His mother faces charges for child endangerment and witness tampering.