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‘We have ... exhausted all of our leads,’ sheriff’s office says of missing Whatcom man

Here’s what the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office does

The Whatcom County Sheriff's Office enforces the law in the unincorporated areas of Whatcom County as well as on the county's waterways.
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The Whatcom County Sheriff's Office enforces the law in the unincorporated areas of Whatcom County as well as on the county's waterways.

The Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office announced in a Facebook post Wednesday, July 17, that it is searching for a 58-year-old Bellingham man who has been missing for approximately three months near Diablo Lake and asked for help locating him.

Ritchie Ambrose Collins was reported missing April 30, according to the post, after National Park Service rangers noted his vehicle had been parked at the Colonial Creek Campground in the North Cascades National Park for approximately two weeks.

“It is not that unusual for people to leave their vehicles in this location for a week, two or even three as they hike into the wilderness, even at the time of year the car was left (in April),” Whatcom County Chief Deputy Kevin Hester told The Bellingham Herald Thursday.

Hester said after the first week, the Park Service notified the Bellingham Police Department and requested they check on Collins’ welfare. He wasn’t located at his home on two occasions, but a neighbor reported seeing Collins within the the last week of April.

Since then, deputies conducted several “exhaustive” searches for Collins on trails around the campground, Hester said.

“We have kind of exhausted all of our leads and are not turning up anything on his location,” Hester said. “It took the 2 1/2 months to cover and investigate things.”

Hester said that investigation included searching Collins financial accounts, veterans records and work history and as well as interviewing his family back East. The family told the Sheriff’s Office that it was a bit unusual for Collins to go camping and he wasn’t known to take extended backpacking trips.

Collins is described at 6-foot-1, 275 pounds with brown eyes and brown hair.

Anyone with information about Collins or his location is asked to contact detective Ken Gates at 360-778-6613.

David Rasbach joined The Bellingham Herald in 2005 and now covers breaking news. He has been an editor and writer in several western states since 1994.
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