Human remains recovered from Mineral Lake

Thursday, August 10, 2017 at 8:50 am

Updated at 4:38 p.m.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Five weeks after a local man was believed to have vanished in Mineral Lake, his body has been found in the lake.

Deputies were called yesterday morning to the north Lewis County community along state Route 7 where they recovered human remains from the water, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

Gerald L. Harris, 54, of Mineral went missing on July 5.

As recently as Tuesday, the sheriff’s office reported they continued to conduct interviews with people and were waiting for a break in the case. They couldn’t say for sure if Harris drowned or maybe something else had occurred.

Harris had a court date coming up the week after he went missing and it didn’t look like the case was going to have a very good outcome for him, sheriff’s Chief Deputy Dusty Breen said earlier this week.

Deputies were called about 9 a.m. yesterday after two boaters fishing on the lake observed something floating in the water, according to Breen. With help from the boaters, sheriff’s office personnel were able to recover the body and bring it to shore at a boat launch, Breen stated in a press release this morning.

After lunch time today authorities identified the deceased as indeed Harris. Lewis County Coroner Warren McLeod said he died of drowning.

The details of Harris’s disappearance are murky.

Deputies had been dispatched just before 4 p.m. on July 5 to the lake on a call reporting suspicious circumstances, according to Breen.

A boater had encountered Harris’s 49-year-old girlfriend adrift in a boat on the lake and she said Harris had been in their boat, then he wasn’t in their boat but she was significantly impaired by at least alcohol and her recollection wasn’t very clear, Breen said.

Deputies got help from other boaters to search the area, brought in the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office Dive Team to check the lake with sonar devices, but also checked Harris’s residence and other locations in the community.

They entered him into the system as a missing person and continued to investigate.

Harris had been charged this spring with second-degree assault and possession of methamphetamine after an incident at the home he shared with his girlfriend on May 30. Harris bailed out of jail on June 1 and was due back in court for a hearing on July 13. A no-bail warrant was issued for his arrest when he failed to appear.

Breen indicated this afternoon that detectives still don’t have a clear picture of what occurred prior to Harris being in the water. His girlfriend has been interviewed multiple times and they are trying to piece together what they can from her recollections, according to Breen.

The sheriff’s office continues investigating the death and looking for answers, he said. The coroner has labeled the manner of death as undetermined.

He said the sheriff’s office is asking anyone with information to contact  the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office at 360-748-9286, or Lewis County Communications at 360-740-1105.

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For background, read “Search continues for missing man in Mineral Lake” from Friday July 7, 2017, here

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3 Responses to “Human remains recovered from Mineral Lake”

  1. Kelly says:

    I like how they conveniently leave out the fact that he also had I believe 4 other PRE SCHEDULED court dates the last of which was in November. Why not wait it out and enjoy summer with his friends and family and do it his last trip out when they pack it up in October?

  2. Debra says:

    This is so incredibly sad, I spent half my life with this man ,he did not deserve this,he has children a family that loves him ,and was a good man , I pray justice is found, may you rest in paradise, you are so loved and forever rememberedq

  3. Debra says:

    This is incredibly sad , I shared half my life with this man, he did not deserve this, he has children and a family and was a good man , I pray justice is found ,may you rest in paradise ,you are so loved and forever remembered

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