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Local mother whose son died at Palouse Falls last year calls for change

SANDPOINT, Idaho - Dangerous conditions forced authorities to call off the search for a 26-year-old Pullman man Friday, after he fell in the river at the Palouse Falls Thursday.

Noble Stoneman is the third person to die at the Palouse Falls State Park, in less than a year.

Each death takes local mother Dorothy Prophet back to the day she got the call that her own son fell to his death last May. 

Cade Prophet, her youngest son, died on a trip to Palouse Falls with his girlfriend.

“Within five to seven minutes of when they got of the car, he was dead,” Prophet said. 

She says her son was standing above the waterfall when the rock crumbled, causing him to plunge down. 

“I started worrying about the next,” she said. “Another mother that would get the phone call.”

And since Cade's death, two more people have died at Palouse Falls. That's why she's calling on the state to put more signs up, in the most dangerous parts of the park.

“The best thing they could do is put up better signage,” she said. “I don't see how the cost of the signs or having signs in the most dangerous places should bother anyone.

Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission Spokesperson Virginia Painter says they're evaluating safety and signs. She wants visitors to do their part, too, by staying on authorized paths.

“We just can't emphasize enough how important it is to stay in the view area,” Virginia said. “Those are the best views and that's where you're going to be safe.”

She said the little paths you see that other people have worn will be tempting, but that it's very dangerous.

Prophet is meeting with the state on Monday, to see if she can work with them on a new sign plan.


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