September 25, 2012 - 5:02 pm
SPOKANE, Wash. – A human finger found inside a fish at Idaho’s Priest Lake has been traced to a wakeboarder who lost four fingers in an accident more than two months earlier.
Fisherman Nolan Calvin found the finger while he was cleaning the trout he caught Sept. 11. He put it on ice and called the Bonner County, Idaho, sheriff’s office, the Spokesman-Review newspaper reported.
Detectives were able to get a fingerprint off the severed digit. They matched it to a fingerprint card for Haans Galassi, 31, of Colbert, Wash., and called him Tuesday morning.
Investigators learned that Galassi lost four fingers from his left hand in a June 21 accident on the same lake where the fish was caught.
"The sheriff called me and told me he had a strange story to tell me," Galassi said Tuesday. "He said that a fisherman was out on Priest Lake, and I pretty much knew exactly what he was going to say at that point.
"I was like: Let me guess, they found my fingers in a fish."
The fish was caught about eight miles from where Galassi had lost his fingers, the sheriff’s office said.
Galassi had been on a camping trip at the scenic lake when he decided to go wakeboarding. He told the newspaper his hand got caught in a loop in the towline, and he couldn’t pull it out before the line tightened behind the boat that was going to pull him.
When he finally broke free, he didn’t feel much pain. But then he looked at his hand.
"I pulled my hand out of the water and it had pretty much lopped off all four fingers," he said. "It was a lot of flesh and bone, not a lot of blood."
He was taken by helicopter to a Spokane hospital.
Galassi has been undergoing therapy twice a week for his injured hand. He still has half of his index and pointer fingers on that hand.
"I can still grip things and grab and hold the steering wheel with it," Galassi said.
The sheriff’s office offered to return the finger, but Galassi declined.
"I’m like, ‘uhhh, I’m good,’" he said.
Detective Sgt. Gary Johnston of the sheriff’s office said the agency will keep the digit for a few weeks in case Galassi changes his mind.
"There’s still three more, too," Johnston said. "It’s hard to say where those are going to end up."