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WDAY: The News Leader

Published May 10, 2010, 07:50 AM

Search for missing Foster County man comes to a tragic end

Kensal, ND (WDAY TV) - There are still many questions tonight after the body of a Foster County man is found in the James River. The nearly two week search came to its tragic end around 11 o'clock this morning. A family member found 26-year old Joshua Blahna in the river.

Blahna went missing after he blew a tire and pulled off just outside his mother's home, northwest of Kensal. Now that one search is over, another one begins to figure out how and why this happened.

Sheriff Mike Tufte still isn't ruling out foul play until he hears results from the State Medical examiner, hopefully by tomorrow night. Tufte says there's just something about this case that doesn't add up.

“This just doesn't happen like this here.”

Sheriff Mike Tufte says it's been more than 20 years since Foster County has had a drowning. That one was accidental, he's not so sure about this one. If there was foul play, Tufte says family members don't know who would be behind it. They tell him Joshua had no enemies.

“No, there's nothing like that, they're just as confused as we are as to why this here all happened.”

The water in the James River where Joshua was found is starting to recede and the current is slowing down. Spring flooding caused high water and strong currents, making the search difficult by boat and plane. Tufte says it could be the river that caused this tragedy, now he's warning people of the danger.

“Be very careful, be very careful is all I can say. I'm not sure what the whole story is behind how this happened, why it happened, but we're trying to find that out.”

We did try to contact family members, but were unable to reach them. Sheriff Tufte tells us Joshua's entire family, and close friends are devastated by this loss. But Tufte is thankful for finally finding Joshua, that way his family and friends can finally stop wondering and have closure.

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