The family of a man who fell into the Puyallup River is raising money to continue looking for him on their own after rescue crews suspended the search.
Lorenzo Perez, 46, was fishing with his wife and two youngest children Monday near the Sumner Link trail when part of the bank gave way and he fell backward into the water.
Perez does not know how to swim and was not wearing a life jacket.
Two bystanders jumped into the river to try and pull Perez to safety but were forced back to shore by the freezing water temperatures and fast-moving current.
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Search crews, divers and a helicopter spent three days looking for him but called off the search Wednesday night.
The family created a GoFundMe account Thursday to continue a private search, raising nearly $3,500 by lunchtime.
“Lorenzo was always willing to help those less fortunate so he deserves that we return the favor. Please help our family bring Lorenzo home,” according to the fundraising page. “We are hoping for a miracle, but are prepared for the worst. Our family needs closure and Lorenzo deserves to come home.”
A Sumner spokeswoman said the swiftwater rescue portion of the search was concluded, but Perez is still listed as a missing person.
His oldest daughter, Amber Budzynski, said the family is struggling with not knowing where Perez is but is hoping for a miracle.
Perez moved his family to Washington when he took a job with Boeing in Everett, then moved to the Tacoma area about 20 years ago.
Loved ones described him as a hard-working family man.
He has been married for 28 years and they have five children, ranging in age from 8 to 27.
Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653