Former CIA Director William E. Colby was missing and presumed drowned Monday after what the sheriff said was an apparent boating accident near Colby’s vacation home.
Colby’s canoe was found on a sandbar Sunday a quarter-mile from his home on the Wicomico River, and divers searched the rough and murky water for the 76-year-old former spy master.
“Right now, we are viewing it as an accident,” Sheriff Fred Davis said. “We’re not ruling out foul play, but we never rule out foul play.”
Colby, who headed the CIA from 1973 to 1976 under Presidents Nixon and Ford, apparently went canoeing late Saturday, but his absence wasn’t noticed until Sunday night, when neighbors became suspicious because his car was still in the driveway. Colby usually has returned to Washington by then.
Davis said Colby’s wife, Sally Shelton-Colby, was out of town but had spoken to him during the weekend. He told her he didn’t feel well but was going canoeing anyway.
Neighbors said the water was rough Saturday and not good for canoeing.
Coast Guard crews searched the river for more than five hours Sunday and resumed the search Monday morning. Authorities did not know if Colby was wearing a life-preserver.