Ernest Sigmon III, 44, went out fishing in the Bay on Dec. 29, 2021 and was never seen again. His 25-foot Sportsman Open 252 was found circling off Plum Point in Calvert County.
Ernie Sigmon’s disappearance prompted a large-scale search by police and other emergency responders, but also inspired thousands of people around the Chesapeake region to participate in the search. Volunteers walked beaches, searched by boat, and even flew personal aircraft overhead.
Finally, nearly six months later, Sigmon’s body has been recovered from the Choptank River, across the Bay in Dorchester County, Md. Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) said Monday that a concerned citizen called to report they’d found the victim’s body. NRP says they’ve been investigating throughout the six months he has been missing, using underwater imaging sonar technology.
A Facebook group created for volunteers helping Sigmon’s family search for him, Bring Ernie Home, has more than 13,000 members. People posted fervent prayers daily that he would be found, and were still reporting in on the areas they’d searched as recently as Sunday.
In January, Bay Bulletin walked the beach with the missing man’s own children, Bella and Ernie Sigmon IV, searching for him in waders and cold-weather gear. They vowed to keep up the search until he was found.
After he was recovered on June 20, Sigmon’s father, Ernest Sigmon, Jr., posted a statement to the Facebook group which read, in part, “After 173 days of this unimaginable tragedy, God has brought Ernie home to us. Our hope, faith, and strength has never been so extensively tested. Each and every day, we feel such a tremendous loss deep in our hearts. Ernie is so much more than a father, son, brother, uncle, nephew, cousin, friend, boss, mentor; he was the one who supported so many of us to be the best version of our selves. Just when our hope and patience were waning, God answered our prayers to bring Ernie home.”
Sigmon, Jr. thanked volunteers for their knowledge, ideas, and support in the search.
NRP says its investigation into Sigmon’s death is ongoing.
-Meg Walburn Viviano