Meridian Star

February 3, 2013

Drowning victim’s body found

By Brian Livingston / blivingston@themeridianstar.com
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     The body of Marcus L. Smith, who drowned two weeks ago in the Chunky River, was recovered Saturday morning by authorities.

    David Sharp, the executive director of Lauderdale County Emergency Management Agency, said members of Smith's family found the body at about 10:15 a.m. in the general area of the river in which for more than a week volunteers and local and state agency personnel searched.

    "The place they found him was a short distance downriver from where we were concentrating much of our search efforts," said Sharp Saturday afternoon. "That stretch where he was found was searched numerous times but there are a lot of downed trees and other underwater debris along that section of the river."

    Smith, 56, was in a canoe with two other men January 19 when it turned over into the swift, cold waters of the Chunky River near Stuckey Bridge. The two survivors were able to reach the bank but Smith was swept downriver the survivors told authorities. Sharp said searchers recovered the canoe and other items that were in the canoe. The items were scattered among fallen trees and other debris along the river banks.

    Sharp said personnel from volunteer fire departments joined LEMA, Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks officers, deputies with the Lauderdale County Sheriff's Department, Metro Ambulance personnel and the Lauderdale County Coroner's Office in recovering the body.

    "We had to use Kubota four wheel drive vehicles and four wheelers in order to reach the place the body was located," Sharp said.

    Lauderdale County Coroner Clayton Cobler said the body would be sent to the Mississippi State Crime Lab for an autopsy.