UPDATE: DNR finds body of missing man at Potato Creek State Park

DNR finds body of missing man at Potato Creek State Park // WSBT 22 photo

It took nearly 24 hours, but the body of a missing man has been located at Potato Creek State Park.

He's identified as 35-year-old Jose Eduardo Garcia-Garcia of Elkhart.

Officials say he went under water Sunday afternoon.

Monday boats and divers were out on the water searching for Garcia.

What started off as two friends hanging out, ended in tragedy.

DNR conservation officers say Garcia and a friend rented a paddleboat. They were out on the water taking turns swimming.

It's still unknown exactly what happened, but Garcia never made it back to the boat.

"Drowning is not the only possibility. He could have had a medical condition that caused him to go under the water. It may not necessarily be drowning. There is always that possibility," said Ashlee Jackson, DNR law enforcement.

DNR conservation officers used sonar and a remote-operated vehicle to search the water.

They were looking for abnormalities that matches the victim’s description. Anything that cast a shadow was marked and later checked by divers.

“Unfortunately this isn't an isolated incident. We work drownings more than we would like, several times throughout the summer and all year around actually. This isn't something that's new to us," said Jackson.

Merrill Clark and his family heard about the search for the missing man. It didn't stop them from doing some fishing.

"We did check first before we came out here, because we really wouldn't want the kids to see something like that happen," said Clark.

Officials say Garcia was not wearing a life jacket.

Clark says he fishes on this lake all the time and doesn't always wear a life jacket, an important safety precaution he's reconsidering.

“You want to make sure it's free from tears, the buckles work, the zippers work, but most important have them on don't just have them on the boat and don't just accessible. Actually wear your life jackets,” said Jackson.

Garcia was found about 20 yards outside of the original search area. He was floating near the surface of the water.

An autopsy has been scheduled for Tuesday.

Officers say they wanted to bring closure to the family and now they have it.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off