DNA identifies South Whidbey Harbor remains as Port Townsend man

A missing person case in Langley that is nearly a decade old has finally, it seems, come to a close.

Allen Fletcher

Allen Fletcher

LANGLEY — A missing person case in Langley that is nearly a decade old has finally, it seems, come to a close.

DNA testing has indicated a positive match for the human remains recovered near the South Whidbey Harbor last fall. They belong to Allen Fletcher, the Port Townsend man who was last seen in Langley before his disappearance.

In November 2013, Fletcher was captaining a boat for a couple that he met through a mutual friend. They were headed from Edmonds to Bellingham, but it became stormy and the trio pulled into Langley for the night.

The couple later told police they had asked Fletcher, 30, to leave their boat because he had become intoxicated while aboard. Few witnesses saw Fletcher that night, but one that did reported that the couple seemed afraid of him, and another reported seeing him near the marina.

Fletcher was nowhere to be found the next day. There was a 10-day gap between when he went missing and when his family reported his disappearance to the Langley Police Department. Members of the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office dive team spent several hours looking for clues, or a body, and found only a blue jacket.

A pair of divers performing work on behalf of the Reef Environmental Education Foundation last year photographed what appeared to be a human femur bone approximately 80 feet underwater, about 200 feet away from the breakwater float at the South Whidbey Harbor.

They returned a few months later and found even more remains. In total, about 60% of a skeleton was recovered from the water. Not far from the collection of bones was a driver’s license belonging to Fletcher.

Langley Chief of Police Tavier Wasser confirmed last week that DNA testing of the bones came up with a positive match for Fletcher’s DNA. No suspicious damage to the skeletal remains — such as chipping, puncture wounds or bullet holes — was reported.

Though the cause of his death will likely remain a mystery, the news has brought some closure for his family members.

“In the end, I’m not sure if finding him made it any easier than losing him. At least with him lost I could daydream he was out there somewhere, having some epic life in the down under or somewhere living life to its fullest,” said his cousin, Melissa Adair. “Finding him brings us closure but did reopen the wounds that had started to heal a little. I miss him even more today than I feel like I did yesterday.”

She advised anyone who has the opportunity to help a family find someone they love to do so, whether that be details of a last encounter or something else.

“I beg you not to make other families wait as long as we did,” she said.

This story originally appeared in the Whidbey News-Times, a sibling publication to The Herald.

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