After a search spanning four days, Department of Natural Resources rangers recovered the body of a missing man Wednesday morning.
The man went missing after leaving his Tillman Pond Road home to go duck hunting in a boat. He was reportedly alone.
Authorities are still not releasing the 61-year-old man’s name.
“The family has expressed their desire to not have his name published in the media, as they have extended family that they are still attempting to notify of this tragic loss,” said Bulloch County sheriff’s Capt. Todd Hutchens.
The man reportedly went duck hunting late Saturday afternoon on Kennedy Pond, a 400-acre cypress lake near Sinkhole Road and Highway 46.
When he did not return that night, his family thought he was staying with a friend, Hutchens said. But when he was not located Sunday morning, family members reported him missing.
Divers, DNR Aviation Unit members and other searchers combed the lake from daylight to dawn each day in search of the man, but due to the composition of the lake, the search proved difficult, Hutchens said.
“The pond is 400 acres of peat moss, lily pads, stumps and with depths ranging from two to 12 feet,” he said. “Visibility is limited.”
Also, frigid temperatures and windy conditions Saturday night were contributing factors that challenged the search. While the man’s boat was found Sunday, it had possibly drifted in the wind, and “there was no (known) point of entry,” Hutchens said.
But around 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, “rangers were able to locate the missing person (when they) spotted camouflage clothing under the surface of the water” and verified it was the man, he said.
“The rangers secured the body and brought him to the shoreline, where he has been turned over to the Bulloch County coroner, Jake Futch. Arrangements have been made to have the body transported to the medical examiner’s office in Savannah for an autopsy,” Hutchens said.
There are no signs of foul play in this incident; however, the manner and cause of death will be determined as a result of the autopsy, he said.
Bulloch County Sheriff Noel Brown expressed appreciation to the Georgia state Department of Natural Resources, the DNR Aviation Unit, the Burke County Sheriff's Office Dive Team and “all of the Bulloch County deputies and investigators who have worked around the clock to locate this person.” He also said he and the Sheriff’s Office “extend deepest regards to the family during this time of loss.”
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.