Family Offers $5K Reward for Missing Novato Man, But Search Ends

Police say no additional searches are planned for Anthony "Tony" Donelson, who allegedly sought to avoid a sobriety test on Christmas Eve by jumping into Corte Madera Creek near the College of Marin.

Despite a $5,000 reward from the family and friends of a missing Novato man who allegedly tried to evade a sobriety test on Christmas Eve by jumping into Corte Madera Creek near College of Marin, no additional searches are planned, according to Ross Police Chief Erik Masterson.

"Now we just have to wait for the body to surface in the bay, unfortunately," Masterson said.

Anthony "Tony" Donelson, 23, was pulled over in the early mornings hours of Dec. 24 on suspicion of drunk driving near Sir Francis Drake Bouelevard and College Avenue, near the College of Marin campus in Kentfield, according to police.

Donelson, a Ross Valley native who was living in Novato, allegedly ran approximately 100 yards down College Avenue away from officers, climbed a fence and jumped into Corte Madera Creek, which was raging after days of rain.

Police said officers followed Donelson, who was swimming away from them, along the creek. The officers used flashlights to keep an eye on him until they reached a point they couldn’t follow him.

Several agencies joined in the search, using a swift-water rescue boat, until the search was called off. The search resumed again Dec. 27 but appeared to morph into a body recovery operation. Masterson noted that marine search specialists from the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office used an underwater sonar camera to assist with the effort.

The search continued all the way out through Greenbrae and into the bay, Masterson said.

One sheriff’s authority told the Marin Independent Journal that the creek’s current was stronger than expected at the mouth of the creek, making it possible Donelson was carried into the bay.

Donelson had previously been arrested on suspicion of public intoxication and has a DUI conviction and domestic battery conviction, according to the IJ.  


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