August 29, 2014 / 7:00 AM / 3 years ago

Missing Montana college student found dead in Idaho mountains

SALMON Idaho (Reuters) - A Montana college student whose disappearance prompted a search by hundreds of police and volunteers was found dead from injuries sustained in a car accident in the mountains of central Idaho, authorities said late on Thursday.

The body of Lucius Robbi, 21, of Orleans, California, was found in his 1997 Subaru near the remote resort town of Stanley, according to Boise County Sheriff Ben Roeber.

Robbi vanished after he set off on Aug. 19 for the University of Montana campus in Missoula from Horseshoe Bend, Idaho, where he had worked as a guide for a second summer at a company that offers trips on the Payette River.

The skilled kayaker told co-workers he intended to camp out on Tuesday evening and be on hand the following day for orientation at the university.

Search efforts aided by an online campaign tied to a Facebook page called “Finding Lucius” drew hundreds to hunt for Robbi and his Subaru, with two orange kayaks strapped to its roof, across vast stretches of mountainous terrain in Idaho and Montana.

Robbi’s family late on Thursday thanked law enforcement and volunteers in a post on the Facebook page, which had gathered thousands of followers from around the United States.

“You were all amazing, and the overwhelming outpouring of love and the heroic effort you made to find Lucius created a bond between you and all of us that will connect us forever,” the family wrote.

The area where Idaho authorities found Robbi’s remains borders the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness and is known for whitewater rapids, rock slides, flash floods and deer and elk herds that frequently cross roadways. It has intermittent cellphone service.

A call for donations to underwrite search efforts had raised more than $18,000 on a crowdfunding website by Thursday.

Reporting by Laura Zuckerman in Salmon, Idaho; Editing by Eric M. Johnson and Clarence Fernandez

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