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Missing kayaker’s body found, in care of coroner’s office

by EMILY THORNTON
Assistant Managing Editor | October 12, 2021 1:00 AM

Grant County Sheriff’s Office searchers found the body of a missing kayaker Friday afternoon in Banks Lake, near Steamboat Rock State Park, officials said.

Kelly Dean Burkhart’s remains are in the care of Grant County Coroner Craig Morrison, according to a Grant County Sheriff’s Office social media post.

“It doesn’t appear to be foul play,” said Kyle Foreman, GCSO public information officer.

Burkhart, 51, of Nespelem, was reported missing Sept. 27, after he went kayaking with friends, launching at the east shore of the lake, near milepost nine on state Route 155, according to the post.

Burkart’s two companions kayaked south and Burkhart went north. When winds and choppy water arose, Burkhart didn’t return to shore, but his friends did.

GCSO deputies found his kayak and life jacket on the west shore Sept. 29.

Searches by boat and aircraft were unsuccessful until his body came to the surface, Foreman said. It was believed Burkhart stowed his lifejacket in the kayak instead of wearing it, he added.