Body of missing Nome man found

Posted: Thursday, September 26, 2002

NOME (AP) -- The body of a 52-year-old miner missing since Monday was found Wednesday morning along a river north of Nome, Alaska State Troopers said.

Randy Bill Lee of Nome apparently died of natural causes, troopers said. No foul play was suspected, nor did hypothermia seem to be a factor even though Lee appears to have gotten wet while riding his all-terrain vehicle in the Grand River, trooper spokesman Greg Wilkinson said.

Searchers in a boat came upon his body on the sloping bank, nearly two miles from where troopers found his ATV.

''All indications are that he had some type of heart attack,'' Wilkinson said.

Lee had traveled alone to the Grand River area, 35 miles north of Nome, on Sunday, troopers said. He parked at a trail head, then continued for another four miles on his ATV. He had taken a metal detector, troopers said.

When Lee did not show up for work Monday morning, friend Gary Hart looked for him and found his vehicle at the trail head. Hart called Nome police that evening.

Troopers believe Lee had tried to cross the river in his ATV but rode into a hole in the river bottom. He got the ATV to shore but couldn't start it. He walked to where his cooler had floated, ate a granola bar, then tried but failed to start a fire.

At that point, Lee started walking along the river toward the trail head and collapsed halfway there.

Lee was a Vietnam veteran who liked to be by himself and apparently had no family in Alaska, Wilkinson said. His mother lives in Idaho.

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