Update: Lake Meriwether drowning victim identified
MERIWETHER COUNTY, GA (WTVM) -
Authorities have identified of the body of the man pulled from Lake Meriwether on Friday, Aug. 8 as 72-year-old Wayman Hunt.
Hunt was a resident of Shiloh in Talbot County, Ga. His body was recovered from the lake by Rangers with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.
Meriwether County Sheriff Chuck Smith says the search began on Tuesday, Aug. 5, when a Sheriff's deputy on a routine patrol saw an unattended car near Lake Meriwhether after the park was closed. The deputy drove around looking for the vehicle's owner, shining his light through the woods and addressing the trees with his loudspeaker, but there was no answer. Soon, authorities discovered an overturned kayak in the water and an empty life jacket floating nearby.
They quickly determined the identity of the missing man, but are currently withholding it from the public. However, did say that the victim is not from Meriwether County. They suspect he was fishing in the kayak based on the discovery of a small tackle box inside the boat.
For more than two days, the Department of Natural Resource officers were dragging the lake in boats, using side scan sonar, and using helicopters to survey the vast expanse of water.
By day two of the recovery mission, it seemed there was no end in sight. Officers on the scene told News Leader 9's Dante Renzulli Lake Meriwether is about 140 acres of surface area, so that's a lot of water to look through.
"These sometimes drag on for days, weeks, this time of year. We're hoping for it to end fairly soon, but it's all up to Mother Nature at this point," says Sgt. Brent Railey of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.