Robert Smithwick 2010-07-21

Search for missing man is put on hold
KENAI RIVER: Dogs pick up possible scent; hunt resumes Monday.

By ELIZABETH BLUEMINK,, Published: July 24th, 2010

Alaska State Troopers have temporarily halted the search for a man who disappeared in the Kenai River Wednesday.

Search-and-rescue dogs brought to the river on Saturday caught a possible scent of the missing man, but due to heavy crowds that have converged at the river this weekend, troopers do not plan to resume the search until Monday, said spokeswoman Beth Ipsen.

Troopers looked for the missing man for six hours on Saturday before suspending the search at 3:30 p.m., Ipsen said.

The missing man is believed to be Robert Smithwick, 41, of Soldotna. Smithwick's vehicle was found near the Pillars boat launch and a man matching his description was seen struggling to stay afloat in the river near the boat launch on Wednesday, troopers said. Family members told troopers that they have not seen Smithwick since Wednesday.

Witnesses at the boat launch reported seeing a shirtless man struggling in the water before he went under and was not seen again.

Since Wednesday, Kenai police, the nonprofit Alaska Search and Rescue Dogs and several other organizations and agencies have assisted with the search.

Find Elizabeth Bluemink online at or call 257-4317.

Body recovered from Kenai River sent to Anchorage for ID

The Associated Press, Published: September 7th, 2010

KENAI -- Kenai police have pulled the body of a man from the Kenai River.

Scott McBride tells the Peninsula Clarion that a boater reported seeing a body at about 2:30 p.m. Monday near the Warren Ames Bridge.

Kenai police and firefighters found the body upstream from the bridge about two hours later.

McBride says the body has been taken to the medical examiner's office in Anchorage for identification.

A 41-year-old Soldotna man is the only person reported missing in the river.

Robert A. Smithwick disappeared in the water July 21 about 100 feet upstream from the Pillars boat launch.