A kayaker who was thought to be missing on the Potomac River — sparking a three-day effort to search for him — was found alive and well at his home in Reston on Sunday, said Montgomery County (Md.) Police.
Police did not release the man’s name, but did say he had no idea that public safety crews were looking for him.
The man’s kayak and paddle were found in the river near Great Falls, Md., on Friday. He told police he had bailed out of the rain-swollen river and swam to shore.
Police said that about 1:45 p.m. on Friday, witnesses in the area of the Observation Deck at Great Falls near the Virginia shore reported “seeing a white male in a red kayak with a white paddle. It appeared that he may have needed assistance.”
Later on Friday, a kayaker down river located a red Kendo kayak and white paddle. The kayak was floating upside down near the Old Anglers Inn boat ramp on the Maryland side of the river.
Public safety responders from Montgomery and Fairfax counties, as well as the U.S. Park Police, started a search by air, ground and water later on Friday. Montgomery County police spokesman Pete Piringer said that 40 to 50 emergency responders participated in the search on Friday, and about a dozen searched on Saturday and on Sunday before the were notified police had contacted the kayaker.
The man was located after Piringer police showed the gear recovered from the river to local kayakers and posting signs in the hopes that someone would provide information about the missing man.
This is the second story in recent weeks involving a kayaker from Reston. Police said last week that Reston’s David Seafolk-Kopp, who told authorities he had been shot from the shore while kayaking in Anne Arundel County in April, likely made up that story and shot himself in the abdomen. When officers came to his Lake Shore Crest home on June 5 with a search warrant, Seafolk-Kopp shot himself again in the torso and jaw. He remains hospitalized in critical condition.
Photos: Spiderman buoyant bag, kayak and other supplies found by police/Credit: Montgomery County Police
The Reston man who told Maryland officials he was shot while kayaking in April, shot himself in Reston last week when Fairfax County Police arrived at his home with a search warrant, Fairfax County Police said.
Fairfax County Police went to the Lakeshore Crest Drive home of David Seafolk-Kopp on Thursday with the warrant after Maryland Natural Resources Police found inconsistencies in Seafolk-Kopp’s account of being shot on Bodkin Creek in Maryland on April 12.
Investigators said Seafolk-Kopp’s hands showed gunpowder residue and the angle of the bullet wound was consistent with a self-inflicted wound. Seafolk-Kopp, a gun collector, had 31 guns registered to his name, police said.
“We were looking for guns consistent with what he was shot with,” said MDNR police spokesman Candy Thomson. “We were looking for a .38 mm, a .357 or 9mm, which was working with what the doctor removed from him.”
When authorities arrived at Seafolk-Kopp’s home, they found him with self-inflicted gunshot wounds in the the jaw and torso, said Thomson.
“The suspect was at home and he was injured,” said Fairfax County Police public information officer Lucy Caldwell. “We assisted with the rescue. Thompson said Seafolk-Kopp, 56, was taken to a hospital, where he remains sedated and in critical condition after several surgeries.
Thomson said Maryland authorities have a warrant to search the Glen Burnie, Md., home of Seafolk-Kopp’s daughter.
“We served the search warrants trying to close out this case and assure the public there is is not someone out there shooting,” said Thompson.
Seafolk-Kopp, a former Maryland resident who has lived in Reston since 2010, told police in April he was shot while taking a break from paddling on Bodkin Creek. He said he saw a red dot near the lower part of his stomach and felt an excruciating amount of pain shortly thereafter. He said he was unable to make it back to shore, where he had launched near Pasadena Md., until the next morning.
The bullet entered just below the sternum, hit Seafolk-Kopp’s ribs and lodged in his back. He was taken to Baltimore’s Shock Trauma, where he was treated and released.
According to the police affidavit, the medic who treated Seafolk-Kopp said the man exhibited no signs of hypothermia even though he said he was on the water all night long.
Police also said several guns were taken from Seafolk-Kopp’s home earlier this month.
Police said that David Seafolk-Kopp, 56, was shot while taking a break from paddling. He told police he saw a red dot near the lower part of his stomach and felt an excruciating amount of pain shortly thereafter.
Officials said the man launched his kayak from a friend’s home near Pasadena, Md., but was unable to make it back to shore until Sunday morning.
Seafolk-Kopp was taken to Baltimore’s Shock Trauma with non-life threatening injuries. The Baltimore Sun reported that he was treated and released.
Police told the Sun that they don’t have a motive or suspect, but the incident is under investigation.