KETR Local
5:01 am
Fri March 27, 2009

Athens mans' body found in lake, grandson still missing

Athens – Divers with the Texas Department of Public Safety have recovered the body of Jerry King, 72, of Athens from Richland Chambers Reservoir. He body was discovered at 9:30 a.m. Friday. Texas game wardens earlier had identified a return on side-scan sonar that proved to be King.

King and his grandson, 17-year-old Jerrod Rachel, were reported missing March 24 after King's pontoon boat was found lodged in standing timber near Hickey Island north of the U.S. Hwy 287 bridge on the 41,000-acre lake in Navarro County.

A fisherman at Oak Cove Marina reported seeing King's pontoon boat drift past Tuesday afternoon but initially thought the occupants were just out of sight. The boat's global positioning system (GPS) indicated that it began drifting approximately one-half mile south of the bridge. Game wardens reconstructed the boat's track across the lake using the GPS and have focused search efforts along a broad swath of water along that path.

Game Warden Capt. Gary Dugan said that Friday morning's recovery gives searchers confidence that they are looking in the right area for Rachel, who is still missing.

While the accident is still under investigation, Dugan said that damage to railing near the bow of the boat indicates that one of the men may have fallen or been swept overboard, and the other man then jumped in to rescue him. Neither man is believed to have been wearing a life jacket.