Search for missing kayakers
The search for two missing kayakers on the Long Tom River near Monroe began Sunday night. (Photo by Benton County Sheriff's Office)

The Benton County Sheriff’s Office recovered on Monday the body of a missing 26-year-old man who had been kayaking on the Long Tom River near Monroe and continues to search for a 23-year-old woman who was also on the trip and disappeared over the weekend.

Deputies responded on Sunday night to a report from a family member that two kayakers — Joseph Bendix and Mariana Dukes, both of Eugene — were overdue for their arrival at Monroe City Park. The pair had launched their kayaks on Saturday near Ferguson Road south of Monroe.

A photo of missing kayaker Mariana Dukes, 23, of Eugene. (Photo distributed through Benton County Sheriff’s Office)

Deputies searched the river until 11 p.m. Sunday and resumed early Monday morning with search-and-rescue ground searchers, drones, aircraft, divers and boats.

Bendix was discovered deceased just after 9 a.m. Monday approximately 3 miles south of Monroe by an adjacent landowner. Search-and-rescue personnel recovered his body a short time later and a family member made a positive identification, BCSO reported.

Dukes is still missing and is described as 5-foot-4 with blond hair. The last known contact she had with her family was shortly before 5 p.m. Saturday.

Around 50 volunteers from nearby agencies are involved with the operation, including the Linn County Sheriff’s Office, Lane County Sheriff’s Office Water Rescue Team, Albany Fire Department’s Water Rescue Team, Lane County SAR, Benton County SAR’s Volunteer Aircraft Team, K9 SAR Unit and drones from BCSO and Albany Fire Department.

BCSO requests that if anyone sees a green kayak downstream (going north) from Ferguson Road on the Long Tom River to contact Det. David Iverson at david.iverson@co.benton.or.us or 541-230-0984.

The sheriff’s department requests that citizens refrain from helping with the search with trained professionals at the scene.

“I’d like to thank Sheriff Harold and the members of the Lane County Sheriff’s Office for all their help during this event,” Benton County Sheriff Jef Van Arsdall said in a statement. “Benton County SAR coordinator Kevin Higgins and the members of Benton County SAR have been amazing and I am grateful to have them as a resource to our county, along with all of the other volunteer organizations that have aided in this search.

“I would also like to thank the community of Monroe for their incredible grace and empathy to the family impacted by this tragedy,” he added.

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