GRAYS HARBOR COUNTY, Wash. - The Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s identified the 18-year-old who drown Friday in the water below Wynoochee Falls. Chief Criminal Deputy Steve Shumate said Ernest Estrella, was camping with friends when they received the call just after 1 that he didn't surface, and they couldn't find him.
After Deputies, aid from Fire District 2, and a Department of Fish & Wildlife agent were also unsuccessful, A Sheriff’s Office diver was called and found him just after 4 p.m. in about 25 feet of water just below the falls.
Shumate said an autopsy later would determine if he died of the cold waters, or of striking an object within.
The Vidette reports Estrella, was home schooled by the Estrella family, graduated in 2012 and attended Grays Harbor College. His parents are Anthony and Kelli Estrella and he has five siblings. He was adopted in 2005 from war-torn Liberia with siblings Ruth and Patience. Other siblings include Faith, Melody and Samuel.
The reporting party had to travel nearly 10 miles to the public phone at the Coho Campground at Wynoochee Lake as there was no cellular service in that area. Deputies, aid personnel from Grays Harbor Fire District # 2, and a WSDFW agent arrived in the area however could not immediately locate the apparent drowning victim. A diver with the sheriff’s department was called to the scene. Just after 4:00 pm, the diver located the victim in approximately 25 feet of water just below the falls.
At this point it is unknown if the victim died as a result of striking an object while jumping into the water, or if the coldness and extreme turbulence of the water affected the man’s ability to swim. There was a significant amount of water flow and the water was very cold as is typical for this time of year. An autopsy will be performed at a later time.
The victim was identified as 18 year old Ernest Estrella of Montesano. No drugs or alcohol appear to have been involved.