Divers Recover Body from Chehalis River; Believed to be Drowned Centralia Teen 


Divers have recovered what is believed to be the body of Zach Hines-Rager, the Centralia teen who drowned in the Chehalis River on March 24. 

The Thurston County Sheriff’s Office Dive Rescue Team resumed searching the river on Monday, April 19, after pausing their search several weeks prior due to adverse conditions. The search team arrived at the launch site near the railroad trestle bridge on the Willapa Hills Trail near Adna around 9 a.m. and just before 11:40 a.m., Hines-Rager’s family posted on Facebook that his body had been found. The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that the body was found in the river near Highway 6 and Heden Road in Chehalis.

Hines-Rager is believed to have drowned due to cold water shock after he jumped from the railroad trestle bridge near the Willapa Hills Train on March 24. Law enforcement and volunteers had been searching the river for his body ever since. 

Lewis County Sheriff personnel, along with the Lewis County Coroner’s Office, are still working to positively identify the body recovered from the Chehalis River and continue to investigate the cause and manner of death. The Lewis County Coroner’s Office will release additional information when it becomes available. 

Anyone with any information pertaining to these remains is encouraged to contact the Lewis

County Sheriff’s Office at 360-748-9286, or Lewis County Communications at 360-740-1105. 

A public memorial and celebration of life for Hines-Rager will take place at 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 24, at Alexander Park, located off of Interstate 5 at Exit 77. Updates will be posted online at https://fb.me/e/1vcvHmt20. 

Hines-Rager graduated from Centralia High School in 2020. He was on the school’s wrestling team and the club wrestling team his junior and senior years, and played on the football team his senior year.

A petition started after Hines-Rager’s death to invest in signage and education at cold-water recreation sites in Washington that informs people of the dangers of cold water shock had 3,641 signatures as of press time. It is accessible online at http://chng.it/FXjPTPHs.