A patrol boat heads across Possession Sound while the search for a Tulalip police officer missing from a capsized Tulalip fisheries boat continues Wednesday near Everett. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

A patrol boat heads across Possession Sound while the search for a Tulalip police officer missing from a capsized Tulalip fisheries boat continues Wednesday near Everett. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Purchase Photo

Officer who was tossed overboard presumed to be dead

Hours after their patrol boat capsized, a second officer was rescued late Tuesday near Hat Island.

UPDATE, 4:38 p.m. Thursday: The search by the U.S. Coast Guard for the missing Tulalip tribal police officer was suspended late Wednesday. But members of the Tulalip Tribes and various other government agencies were continuing to look for him, the Tulalip News reported in a Facebook post.

“The decision to suspend a search is one of the most difficult decisions the Coast Guard has to make,” Coast Guard Lt. Zachary Kearney said in a statement. “We search as if one of our own is missing. Our hearts go out to the family and friends of the missing Tulalip Tribal officer.”

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of officer Charlie Cortez is asked to call Sector Puget Sound at 206-217-6001.

Original story below.


EVERETT — A day after two Tulalip Tribes police officers were thrown from a boat by a rogue wave near Jetty Island, a massive search was conducted for one of the men Wednesday.

The missing officer was identified as Charlie Cortez, 29. He is presumed to have drowned, the tribes said. He would be the first officer from the department to die in the line of duty.

“As our search-and-rescue mission transitions into a search and recovery, we are heartbroken,” tribal Chairwoman Teri Gobin said in a statement. “Our people are connected to the water and we know the risk when we go out. Today we lost a good man, a father, brother and son.”

The boat’s captain, fisheries officer Shawn Edge, was rescued late Tuesday from the frigid water by Tulalip fishermen.

Charlie Cortez (Tulalip Tribes)

Charlie Cortez (Tulalip Tribes)

Cortez and Edge were on patrol in the Tulalip Police Department fisheries vessel when a surprise wave capsized the 24-foot boat around 8:30 p.m. They called for help, but the radio transmission was lost after first contact, according to the Everett Fire Department.

Through heavy rain, choppy water and gusts up to 45 mph, first-responders searched along Jetty Island and eventually found the overturned boat around 11:10 p.m. The officers were nowhere nearby.

Fishermen on a private boat found Edge, 39, floating around 11:45 p.m. near Hat Island — 3½ miles west of Jetty Island. He was wearing a life jacket and was hypothermic but conscious. He spoke with rescuers and was taken to the Tulalip Bay Marina for initial care, then to Providence Regional Medical Center Everett. He was recovering at the hospital.

Law enforcement agencies congregated at the marina Wednesday. In the distance, boats patrolled the waters under a slate-gray sky as a helicopter circled above. Wind and rain had died down considerably.

Camano Island Fire and Rescue, Everett Fire, Everett Police, the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office, Marysville Fire, Naval Station Everett, Port of Everett, Snohomish County Fire District 22, Tulalip Bay Fire and Tulalip Police aided in the search.

Combined, teams searched 835 square nautical miles by sea and air as of Wednesday afternoon, U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Brett Ettinger said.

Authorities believed they pinned down an approximate area where the boat overturned — in fairly shallow water, as the officers were trying to navigate back to the Snohomish River for shelter from the storm. They were broadsided by the wave.

Gobin said she appreciated the outpouring of help, which included 13 agencies.

“Our hands go up to the many fishermen and rescue workers who answered the call to find the missing officer,” she said. “In the face of tragedy, our community came together and will continue to come together as we take care of his family.”

Tulalip Police Chief Chris Sutter described Cortez as “a wonderful man and officer.”

Cortez was an enrolled member of the Tulalip Tribes.

“We are devastated by this loss,” Sutter said in a statement. “Tulalip Fish and Wildlife are often called upon to conduct searches such as this one. I know Charlie would have been there for you, and I can’t say thank you enough to the many individuals and agencies that came together to be there for him. The search for our missing officer will continue until he is brought home.”

Crews planned to keep searching through the night Wednesday if the weather stayed calm enough.

Reporters Caleb Hutton and Eric Stevick contributed to this story.

Zachariah Bryan: 425-339-3431; zbryan@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @zachariahtb.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Paul McElhany points out how far the new building will extend past the current building at Northwest Fisheries Science Center's Mukilteo Research Station on Tuesday, April 23, 2019 in Mukilteo, Wash. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Oh, crab! NOAA’s Mukilteo waterfront fish lab won’t be rebuilt

Bids for a new Northwest Fisheries Science Center research station are too high. Are condos next?

Snohomish County Sheriff Adam Fortney during an interview at the sheriff’s department June 17, 2020. (Sue Misao / The Herald)
Auditor denies Fortney recall group the extra time it seeks

He said he could extend the deadline for signature gathering if ordered by a court or the Governor.

State Patrol worker from Everett charged with attempted child rape

Trevor Smith worked as a commercial vehicle enforcement officer assigned inspecting school buses.

A pre-loaded syringe with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine sits on the table for the next person in line during a vaccine clinic as South Pointe Assisted Living on Friday, Feb. 12, 2021 in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Snohomish County to receive its largest shipment of vaccines

Even as case counts drop, researchers are finding a growing number of COVID variants in the state.

Austin Johnson, 26 years-old, trains on the Centennial Trail in Lake Stevens and is planning to do a 24-hour run to raise money for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
24 hours, 80 miles, $23k raised for mental health

Austin Johnson completes a 24-hour run along the Centennial Trail to raise money for suicide prevention.

Everett man identified after being found dead in creek

The cause of death for Renee Baltazar Romero remained under investigation Thursday.

Everett man found dead in creek near Lake Stevens

The man, 28, was reported missing Thursday. A neighbor found his body in Little Pilchuck Creek.

Autopsy shows Lake Stevens woman, 20, drowned Saturday

Anna M. Lopez was swimming when witnesses noticed she was not responsive, according to officials.

Joe Hempel swims off of the shore of Seawall Park on Friday, Jan. 29, 2021 in Langley, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Scantily clad is the dress code for these cold rush swimmers

Immersed for 30 minutes in frigid water would kill most of us. It energizes these swimmers.

Most Read