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Originally published November 2, 2009 at 1:09 PM | Page modified November 3, 2009 at 5:11 PM

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Body found on beach may be missing Kingston man

A body that washed ashore on the Long Beach Peninsula near Ocean Park on Monday morning may be that of a Kingston man who has been missing since his boat disappeared in a storm last month, according to sheriff's investigators in Grays Harbor County.

Seattle Times staff reporter

A body that washed ashore on the Long Beach Peninsula near Ocean Park, Pacific County, on Monday morning may be that of a Kingston man who has been missing since his boat disappeared in a storm last month, according to sheriff's investigators in Grays Harbor County.

John Phillip Stapp, 51, and a companion were sailing along the Washington coast, headed toward California, when they apparently ran into a devastating storm, investigators said.

The body of Teri Dascher, 47, of Kingston, washed ashore near Grayland on Oct. 23, along with remnants of Stapp's sailboat, a 25-foot Coronado named Connie B.

Stapp's mother, Elenita Stapp, said her son has been presumed dead since a Coast Guard search was called off on Oct. 24.

"They said that probably no one could survive in that icy water more than two hours," she said.

John Stapp, an avid sailor who had been living aboard his boat at Kingston Marina, had worked as a handyman for Skol Properties & Investments in Lynnwood and for a Chevrolet dealership in Bothell. Although Stapp used a Mill Creek mailing address, police said, he had lived in marinas throughout the Puget Sound area since the death of his wife more than 10 years ago.

Stapp's two adult sons, John Phillip Stapp Jr., of Stanwood, and William Stapp, of El Paso, Texas, were headed to Grays Harbor last weekend to look for their father's body, Elenita Stapp said.

Grays Harbor County Detective Ed McGowan said the medical examiner in Pacific County was working to identify the body through dental records and fingerprints.

According to McGowan, the couple left Kingston in September.

They made stops in Port Angeles and Westport, Grays Harbor County, where they picked up equipment to repair a broken boom. The couple moored in Grays Harbor for a couple of days before heading back out to sea sometime between Oct. 17 and 18, he said.

A friend of Dascher's told investigators she received a phone call from Dascher two weeks ago. In that call, Dascher reportedly said they had hit rough seas and that she was in the cabin while Stapp was topside piloting the vessel.

"It's pretty clear the boat suffered a catastrophic event," said Grays Harbor County Undersheriff Rick Scott.

Christine Clarridge: 206-464-8983 or cclarridge@seattletimes.com

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