Search for missing man continues
Posted: Wednesday, Nov 17, 2004
By KEITH KINNAIRD
News editor

Family doesn't believe Danny Clune drowned in Pend Oreille River
SANDPOINT -- Kristen and Ryan Clune came to Idaho last week looking for answers to their missing brother's whereabouts.

But it appears they will be leaving only with questions they've had since Danny Clune went missing in the pre-dawn hours of Nov. 6.

"Here we are almost two weeks later and we're getting on a plane, and we have no answers to go back to my parents with," said Kristen Clune. "It's pretty upsetting."

Kristen and Ryan put their lives on the East Coast on hold last week to come to Bonner County to try and locate their brother, a 29-year-old computer programmer for BookCrossing.com in Sandpoint.

Danny Clune was last seen shortly before 2 a.m. at the Long Bridge Grill in Sagle. He had just finished having drinks with a small group of friends when they decided to head home, Kristen Clune said.

As they assembled in the parking lot, Clune went back inside to retreive his blue hooded sweat jacket. That's the last time Clune's friends saw him.

Kristen Clune believes when Danny returned to the parking lot, his friends were looking for him in the lounge. Mobile phone records show a call was placed from Clune's phone to the phone of a woman in the group.

"It was obviously him walking around the parking lot looking for her," Kristen Clune said.

But there was no message and no sign of Danny.
The prevailing theory about town is that Danny plunged into the Pend Oreille River while walking back to town on the U.S. Highway 95 Long Bridge. But Kristen Clune does not buy into such conjecture.

She points out her brother was already fixing to leave by car, and if he did decide to walk home, he would have at the very least told somebody. The New Jersey native is also a surfer who knows how to handle himself in the water, his sister said.

Moreover, Kristen Clune's gut tells her Danny didn't plummet from the bridge.

"Me and my brother walked up on the bridge and as a soon as we saw it we both said the same thing -- 'he's not in that water, he did not fall off that bridge,'" Kristen Clune said.

Sandpoint Police Chief Mark Lockwood said members of the Bonner County Sheriff's Marine Patrol searched both sides of the river this weekend and found no sign of Danny.

If Danny did go into the river, there's a chance he might never be found, Lockwood added. The body could be washed far downstream or become lodged under snags or against rocks. Also, the river's temperature is cold enough to slow or suspend the decomposition process, which produces gasses that can cause a body to surface.

Lockwood said patrons and staff who were at the Long Bridge Grill at the time of Clune's disappearance have been interviewed, but some recollections are hazy due to the lateness of the hour and the fact that alcohol was involved.

However, investigators are pursuing a number of leads, which Lockwood declined to elaborate on. There was one report of a fight outside the lounge that night, but it did not appear to involve Clune or any of his friends, said Lockwood.

"We are moving forward with the investigation," he said. "It's a perplexing case, there's no question. But that's how these cases go."

• Those with information about Clune's whereabouts are asked to call Sandpoint Police at 265-1482 or Bonner Dispatch at 265-5525.