UPDATE: Police identify man found dead at the bottom of White Lake

Updated: Jul. 22, 2018 at 5:12 PM EDT
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WHITE LAKE, NC (WECT) - A man's body was found at the bottom of Bladen County's White Lake just feet from a pier after hours of searching on Sunday afternoon.

The man has been identified as John Junior Godwin, 57, from Benson, NC, according to Ed Wilkerson, superintendent of Singletary Lake State Park.

Godwin's next of kin has been notified.

Godwin was swimming without a life jacket near a pier at Goldston's Beach. He had come to Goldston's Beach with friends and had gone out to swim by himself, said Wilkerson.

Friends of Godwin said he was a regular swimmer, according to Wilkerson.

According to Bladen County Chief Deputy, Larry Guyton, the man's wife reported him missing at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday after it had been about an hour since she had seen him last.

Rescue crews then started searching for the missing man in the White Lake area, concentrating on the water at Goldston's Beach.

Bladen County Water Rescue, White Lake Police Department, Bladen County Sheriff's Office, White Lake Fire & Rescue, N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation, and other agencies were among the search crews.

A three-person dive team began a grid search where Godwin was last seen. When they were unable to locate the man, sonar equipment was brought in to assist.

At approximately 3:30 p.m., search crews found his body in the water about 30 feet off the pier at Goldston's Beach, said Guyton.

Godwin's body was found in 7 feet of water at the bottom of the lake, said Wilkerson. The water temperature was 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

The cause of death has not been confirmed as drowning, and an autopsy will be conducted, according to Wilkerson.

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