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Body found near where monk reported missing

Hagadone News Network | January 5, 2024 1:00 AM

NEWPORT — A body was found floating in a pond near where a Newport area monk was reported missing.

Pend Oreille County Sheriff's Office dispatch said the agency received a call Wednesday. from Sravasti Abbey, saying a monastic resident had seen a body floating in a nearby pond.

When sheriff's office investigators were taken to the scene, the body of a deceased male was found, partially submerged in the frigid water. Abbey residents reported the pond had been frozen over with ice and recently thawed, POCSO officials said.

The clothing on the body is consistent with that worn by Dadul Namgyal, a monk from the abbey who was reported missing on Nov. 7, 2023.

Using a canoe from a neighboring resident, POCSO officials were able to retrieve the body from the pond.

An autopsy has been requested by the county coroner to determine the estimated time of death and possible cause, as well as positive identification of the deceased person.

Abbey officials asked all to join them in continued prayers and dedications for the monk, and for his family and students.

"Please join us in continuing to make prayers and dedications for Geshela, so he will be born in a pure land or take a precious human rebirth," abbey officials posted on their website.

By following his example in seeking enlightenment, all can send him off with love and respect, they wrote in the post.

Last seen Nov. 7 near the abbey's Country Lane location near Newport, Dadul Namgyal was reported missing when he failed to attend a Buddhist prayer ceremony.

POCSO officials and volunteers searched the area surrounding the abbey's 300-acre property using drones, trained canines, and a helicopter.

However, no signs of Dadul Namgyal were found despite the assistance of dozens of rescuers and a professional tracker. Possible sightings reported several days later near Sandpoint and Newport proved to be unfounded.

A prominent scholar in Tibetan Buddhism, Dadul Namgyal held a doctorate in Buddhism and philosophy from the Drepung Monastic University. He also held a master’s degree in English literature from Panjab University in Chandigarh, India.

The author of several articles on Buddhism, Geshe La served as a philosophy professor at the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies in Sarnath, Varanasi, India, as well as the spiritual director of the LSLK Tibetan Buddhist Center in Knoxville, Tenn.

His failure to turn up for the meeting drew immediate concern, senior abbey nun Thubten Chonyi said earlier.

“He had suggested to someone that he would like to go out for a walk even though the weather was kind of crummy,” Chonyi said at the time of his disappearance. “So we assumed he went out for a walk and got turned around or something happened.”

POCSO officials said they expect to release additional information when autopsy results are returned.

Any new information can be given to POCSO investigator Travis Stigall at 509-447-3151.