On Sunday, two other kayakers were able to make it to shore safely and called 911. They said Gillespie's kayak resurfaced, but he did not after he capsized.
Since his disappearance, Fort Bragg Emergency Services personnel had coordinated a massive rescue effort with soldiers and equipment from across Fort Bragg and local, county and state law enforcement and rescue teams.
Officials said the biggest difficultly in finding Gillespie was the swift moving water, high brush and steep banks. Water levels of the Little River on Sunday were about 12 feet because of days of rain. By Wednesday, it had gone down to half of that.
Authorities say they do not suspect foul play at this time, but they are still investigating.