Body found of man who disappeared amid Maryland flooding

ELLICOTT CITY, Md. (AP) — Searchers on Tuesday scouring a river alongside an historic Maryland town ripped apart by flash flooding found the body of a man last seen being swept away by the raging waters as it gutted shops and pushed parked cars into swollen tributaries.

Volunteers and crews with trained dogs had been methodically hunting for 39-year-old Eddison Hermond. He disappeared late Sunday afternoon, following torrential rains that prompted destructive flash flooding in historic Ellicott City.

It was the second time Ellicott City’s downtown district was hit by deadly floodwaters in less than two years.

On Tuesday afternoon, Hermond’s body was located in the Patapsco River. He was the only person reported missing in Ellicott City — established in 1772 as a mill town — where many now can’t get the roar of rushing waters out of their heads.

“To have died helping somebody else is incredible. And I can’t even imagine the loss his family is suffering,” said Nicholas Johnson, owner of a store near the spot where Hermond vanished. He disappeared while trying to help a woman who was escaping the flooded zone with her cat.

Hermond, of Severn, Maryland, was a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and a sergeant in the Maryland Army National Guard. He was described by those who knew him as an affable, generous man.

With waters receded, residents of the flood-prone town are facing another daunting comeback since the last terrible flood deluged their beloved downtown, smashing inventory and ripping up floors and pavement.

Some people in Ellicott City’s historic downtown say they are determined to rebuild. Their hope: to pull together as a community once again and live up to the nickname “Ellicott City Strong,” which many locals are now repeating as a sort of mantra.

Simon Cortes, owner of La Palapa Grill & Cantina, said it’s “a horrible time,” and his business took on about a foot (30 centimeters) of water. But he notes the quaint old town has been through it all before, and he’ll do his part to spur another revival.