After more than two months of searching for Kenny Angel, family members announced Sunday they will have a memorial service on Sun, June 1, at 2 p.m. at the Community Hall in Spencer. Although smaller searches will continue, Scott Angel said the family has found closure.
Dozens of volunteers, along with two National Guard helicopters, the Nebraska State Patrol, Holt County Sheriff's Department an many firefighters continued searching over the weekend but did not recover Angel, who was swept away by the Niobrara River in March when the Spencer Dam collapsed.
"The Angel family would like to thank everyone that helped, supported prayed for or thought of us today in our search for Kenny," Scott Angel posted on Facebook as an update.
He added, "We can't thank everyone enough for the help they've bestowed on the Angel family. The generosity extended and the love and care shown to us has been somewhat overwhelming."
Angel wrote that the biggest advantage Sunday was the cadaver dogs.
"There was a point when two different dogs alerted at the same spot. We had 27 people there immediately and within minutes they were digging through the mud, chopping through downed trees and pulling logs out with ATV winches. We dug, we searched, dogs looked again. The dogs were convinced that something was there but we were unable to find anything. Gerald Pritchett even went so far as to bring his mini excavator down and assist us," Angel wrote.
He said land owners must now begin cleaning and clearing their land, rebuilding fences and stabilizing river banks. Hunters will be using this land, albeit having different cover for animals now. Spring is here, and everyone needs to look to the future and what it holds.
"It's time to call this search the closure we've needed. We've searched from the ground, the air, the water. We've used people, dogs, airplanes, helicopters and boats. We've spent hundreds and hundreds of hours searching. We've climbed through ice, mud and debris. We didn't get the results we had hoped for but we must remember that closure comes in different ways. For us, it comes in knowing that we've done everything we can to look for Kenny and finding him simply wasn't meant to be," he said.
Smaller searches will continue, Angel said, including by the Nebraska Game and Parks, hunters and many pilots.
"There will be people looking under logs, behind trees, along the river banks and in the water for many years. A person like Kenny Angel is not easily forgotten. In the words of his good friends, Chris and Mary Langille, who spent the weekend with us, Kenny has become the river's local folk hero. The search isn't over, but for now, we're all looking ahead to what else life has in store for us," Angel wrote. "Again, thank you to everyone that has helped us. March 14 is a day the Angel family will always remember."