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Man feared drowned

Man feared drowned

Mike Gouker

POSTED March 26, 2010 11:02 p.m.
A man who was last seen struggling against a swift current in the San Joaquin River, is believed to have drowned, the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department reported Wednesday.
The man, Mike Gouker, 46, of Modesto was fishing with his friend Jeffrey Bargas, 27, late Monday afternoon on the San Joaquin River, near West Grayson and River roads.
According to Bargas’ statement, Gouker waded into the river to retrieve a snagged fishing line. Bargas said he heard Gouker shout for help and when he looked up, he saw Gouker being swept away in the river’s current.
The sheriff’s department said Bargas did not have a cell phone and did not notify authorities until he had driven back to his Modesto home.
“Officials believe a significant amount of time elapsed between the last time Gouker was seen and when authorities were notified,” sheriff’s Deputy Andrew Winter said in a press release.
Stanislaus Sheriff’s deputies, CHP, Stanislaus Consolidated Fire and Fish and Game were involved in an extensive search of the area, which included foot, boat and helicopter patrols. The search was terminated after several hours without success.
Gouker is described as a white man with brown hair, blue eyes and was wearing dark clothing. The current swept him in a northern direction. Gouker has been entered into the National Missing/Unidentified Persons computer database as a missing person.
Anyone with information about this case is encouraged to contact Detective Jon McQueary at 525-7099. Callers can also leave an anonymous tip by calling Crime Stoppers at 521-4636. Tipsters can also e-mail tips at, or text them to CRIMES (274637) by typing "Tip704" plus the message. Tipsters are eligible for cash rewards.

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