The Great Coastal Gale of 2007 hammered the west from British Columbia to northern Oregon beginning Saturday, December 1. During three days of continuous storms, hurricane force winds and record level rains caused serious flooding and eighteen deaths.
Sunday morning, while cougar hunting along the Little Nestucca River with his nephew, Zachary Taylor Brannigan slipped, fell into the racing, flood level water, and disappeared from view. Tyler Stickel searched the river for his uncle several hours before giving up, returning home to Sheridan, and reporting the incident to the Yamhill County Sheriff.
Volunteers searched the Little Nestucca River from Hebo Road to Nestucca Bay all day Monday and Tuesday and the following weekend, but they found no trace of Zachary.
Five months earlier Zachary had purchased a million dollar life insurance policy from the Jupiter-Saturn Corporation. He named his wife, Carla, and his nephew, Tyler, as co-beneficiaries.
Carla suffered a fatal heart attack during August, 2013, and Tyler is telling friends and co-workers he plans to have his uncle declared dead in December, 2014, seven years after he disappeared, so he can claim the million dollars.
Jupiter-Saturn receives an anonymous email sent from Sheridan. The sender declares he saw Zachary, alive and well, celebrating Cinco de Mayo.
The insurance company asks private investigator Dan Ballantine to visit Sheridan and answer the question: Did somebody really see Zachary Brannigan?