Family, friends mourn Dana Dourdeville's death

Jan 13, 2014

Friends and family of Dana Dourdeville are mourning his death after the 21-year-old’s body washed ashore in East Falmouth on Sunday afternoon.

Massachusetts Environmental Police spokeswoman Amy Mahler confirmed that a volunteer search party discovered his body around 2 p.m. near Penzance Point in Falmouth.

Detectives from the Falmouth and Fairhaven Police Departments responded to the scene alongside Environmental Police, she said.

Fairhaven police report there is no sign of trauma to Dourdeville’s body; however, the State Medical Examiner will conduct an autopsy.

On Dec. 31, Dourdeville’s mother reported him missing when he didn’t return home after duck hunting on West Island in Fairhaven. Authorities launched a search that night and found his kayak and a glove floating three miles off shore, but no other signs of Dourdeville.

While police used all terrain vehicles, helicopters, underwater cameras and sonar to search for Dourdeville private citizens banded together to check South Coast shorelines on foot.

Old Rochester Regional Athletic Director Bill Tilden helped lead the private search for Dourdeville, who was a standout track athlete at ORR.

On his Facebook page Tilden, a family friend, called the search off on Sunday.

“We ask that you all stop searching and be safe. With very sad news that I do not want to tell everyone this way but Dana has been found and has passed,” he wrote. “Please keep him and the family in your prayers and we promise to update everyone soon. You have all been amazing and this recovery would not have been possible without your help and prayers.”

ORR High School Principal Mike Devoll remembered Dourdeville, as the rare student whose athletic prowess matched his academic skill.

“Dana was an incredibly gifted young man in many ways. He seemed to have the perfect balance between the academic piece and the athletic piece,” Devoll said. “He was a model student from the second he walked into the high school. He was motivated, driven, committed.”

Dourdeville graduated ORR as the valedictorian in 2011. He was a student at Brown University in Rhode Island and competed on the cross country team.

Devoll said at this time there are no plans to hold a memorial service in the school. Instead he’s waiting to see how Dourdeville’s family would like to see their son’s memory honored.

Devoll said Dourdeville is someone the school won’t soon forget.

“What stands out to me, about Dana, is him being a thinker, being thoughtful, being a good friend, being a good classmate. He was a beloved student,” Devoll said.