Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Missing Williamsburg Fisherman Found Dead on Island Near Eastern Shore


The York River
The York River

An Historic Triangle fisherman who disappeared from his boat in December was found dead earlier this month on Raccoon Island, a remote barrier island in Northampton County on the southern tip of the Eastern Shore.

Gary Edward Webb, a 56-year-old Williamsburg man, was reported missing by his family Dec. 16 after he did not come home from a fishing trip on the York River. His boat was found the next day on the Gloucester County side of the York River about 1 mile south of the Coleman Bridge. After that, searchers did not find a trace of the man.

On April 2, a group of kayakers were walking around on Raccoon Island when they discovered a body, according to Northampton County Sheriff David L. Doughty Jr. Investigators from the sheriff’s office and the Virginia Marine Police responded to the area and recovered the body, which was taken to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Norfolk for autopsy and identification.

Doughty said investigators believe the water carried Webb’s body to the island. The exact cause of death is still pending.

Webb left his home at about 4 p.m. Dec. 16 to go fishing alone on his 15-foot john boat, telling his family he would return by 11:30 p.m. The boat was found the next morning with fish on board, as well as his life jacket and fishing pole. Units from the VMP, the York County Department of Fire and Life Safety and the U.S. Coast Guard participated in the search. A Virginia Marine Resource Commission airplane was also involved.

Raccoon Island is uninhabited and primarily composed of marshland. It is accessible via a boat ramp at the Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge.

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