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St. Paul man disappears while kayaking in Wyoming national park

St. Paul man missing after kayaking in Grand Teton National Park
St. Paul man missing after kayaking in Grand Teton National Park 00:28

GRAND TETON NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. — A Minnesota man disappeared while kayaking in Wyoming's Grand Teton National Park Saturday, officials said.

Wesley Dopkins, 43 of St. Paul, was kayaking with a friend on Jackson Lake, according to park officials. They left Colter Bay around midday, heading for Waterfalls Canyon on the western shore. The friend lost sight of Dopkins around 2 p.m. and landed at Leeks Marina to report him missing.

Grand Teton National Park

Kathryn Dopkins, his mother flew to Wyoming hoping for the best and preparing for what's to come.

"We are very sad and heartbroken, and I miss him already," she said.

Sitting inside the ranger's office in Wyoming's Grand Teton National Park, Kathryn says she thankful for all the searchers who have been dealing with tough conditions to find her son.

"The search is ongoing, they say they will keep searching basically till he is found," Kathryn stated.

She describes her son as an adventurer who loved to travel. She says her son went with a friend from Europe to Grand Teton and gave him his life jacket before they were met raging waters and high winds.

"Normally he's very safe takes prep serious but it was impulsive move, and they only had the one life jacket at the time," she said.

Kathryn says she's waiting at the very place her son went missing, hoping, and waiting.

"I encourage everyone to just hug their families, loved one, pets whatever they have tightly, all we have is this moment," she said.

Park rangers searched using boats and a helicopter. They found the Dopkins' kayak, paddle and bag floating near Moose Island around 8 p.m. Saturday. They searched again on Sunday.

Dopkins was last seen wearing a red NASA baseball cap, a blue T-shirt and black shorts, park officials said.

Grand Teton National Park

Anyone who sees him is asked to call the Teton Interagency Dispatch Center at 307-739-3301.

Just over two weeks ago, authorities recovered the bodies of two canoeists who went missing in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness of Minnesota.

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