Body Found In River Near Casper Was Photographer Who Vanished In January

Authorities have identified the Casper-area man found dead in the North Platte River on Sunday as Bruce Wayne Campbell, whose friends feared had ventured out onto the ice of a state park river in January to take photographs.

Clair McFarland

March 15, 20232 min read

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(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

The Casper-area man found dead in the North Platte River on Sunday disappeared in January after falling through the ice at Edness Kimball Park while he was out with his camera, authorities announced Wednesday.  

Bruce Wayne Campbell, 60, was nowhere to be found Jan. 19 though his dog, Jax, was leashed but wandering in the park while Campbell’s white Ford Windstar van was parked nearby. A hole in the ice near the shoreline suggested Campbell had fallen through. 

Campbell’s shoes lay on the ground near his van, along with a few tracks.  

Friends who voiced concerns on Facebook feared Campbell had gone onto the ice to take photographs. 

Weeks passed.

Then an Evansville-area resident called authorities Sunday to report a body in the river.  

Natrona County Fire Protection District personnel responded to the area, conducted a water recovery and pulled the body, now identified as Campbell’s, out of the water.  

The Natrona County coroner’s preliminary findings suggest that drowning was Campbell’s cause of death. Criminal activity is not suspected.  

First responders found Campbell’s camera with him, according to a Natrona County Sheriff’s Office press release dispatched Wednesday.

The photographs on the camera were what initially led sheriff’s investigators to believe they’d found Campbell, the statement says, along with the fact that the body surfaced downstream from the state park where he’d gone missing.  

“This accident is an unfortunate tragedy. We hope the recovery of Mr. Campbell brings some closure to his loved ones,” the statement says. “Our Victim Services Unit has worked closely with Mr. Campbell’s family throughout our investigation to ensure that they have support and resources available to them, his family has asked for privacy during this difficult time.”

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Clair McFarland

Crime and Courts Reporter