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Body of missing Kentucky angler found in Susitna River

PALMER -- The body of a 76-year-old Kentucky man missing since late June was discovered last week in the Susitna River by a boater, Alaska State Troopers say.

William Hartlage, 76, from Louisville, Kentucky, went missing on June 27, 2019 during a fishing trip in Willow Creek. (Photo courtesy Alaska State Troopers.)

William “Bill” Hartlage was last seen June 27, when a family member reported him overdue after he’d gone flyfishing on Willow Creek at the Susitna. Boat crews left Deshka Landing just after 11 that night to look for him, with a helicopter flying overhead, but found no sign of him. A ground search was also unsuccessful.

The boater contacted troopers the afternoon of July 9 to report a body partially submerged in the Susitna about a mile upstream of Deshka Landing, troopers said in an update Tuesday. State and wildlife troopers responded.

The Alaska Medical Examiner Office has confirmed the body was that of Hartlage, troopers spokesman Ken Marsh said.

Willow Creek, and its confluence with the Susitna, is a popular trout and salmon fishing area that draws locals and visitors to its easily accessed banks off the Parks Highway in Willow. A 71-year-old fisherman from Missouri died while fishing Willow Creek in 2014. Jerry Warner went missing in August of that year. His body wasn’t discovered in the creek until September 2015.

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