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Game wardens continue search for Marshall drowning victim

By Bridget Ortigo
Jan. 12, 2018 at 6:52 p.m.
Updated Jan. 12, 2018 at 6:52 p.m.

Special to the News Messenger
John Mitchell, 50, of Marshall was presumed drowned Friday at Lake O’ The Pines in Marion County, according to his sister Felicia Murray of Marshall. Texas Parks and Wildlife and Marion County Game Warden officials continued to search for Mitchell late Friday.

East Texas law enforcement officials suspended their search for a drowning victim at Lake O’ the Pines in Marion county late Friday and are set to pick up the search again this morning.

Felicia Murray of Marshall said her brother, 50-year-old John Mitchell of Marshall, was missing after his boat overturned on the lake Friday afternoon.

Boats, organized by Texas Parks and Wildlife and Marion County Game Warden officials, continued searching for him late into the evening on Friday before suspending the search with plans to resume today.

Murray said Mitchell had been fishing with his friend Keith Boyd, also of Marshall, at the lake Friday afternoon when their boat was overturned and Mitchell drowned.

“The current pushed the boat up against the bank of rock and put a hole in the boat,” Murray said on Friday. “The water got in and the current turned the boat over.”

Murray said Boyd was transported to CHRISTUS Good Shepherd Medical Center in Marshall on Friday. Hospital officials did not comment or confirm Boyd’s condition by late Friday.

Murray said her brother was an avid outdoorsman who was celebrating his birthday on Friday by going fishing.

“If you like to fish or hunt, he was your man — that was him all the way,” she said Friday. “Joking around and being silly, that was John Mitchell.”

As the temperatures dropped Friday evening while officials continued to search the lake, Murray said she, along with family and friends, continued to offer support to one another.

“It is hard not knowing, but we have not given up the fight,” Murray said. “It is cold out here but we are trying to keep everyone encouraged. There is nothing like having family and friends who care.”

National Weather Service meteorologist Davyon Hill said Lake O’ The Pines was under a lake wind advisory that expired at noon on Friday. Temperatures at the lake dropped down to 23 degrees Friday morning and were expected to drop to the same temperature Friday night, though the wind was forecasted to weaken.

“Longview reported wind gusts of 20 miles per hour on Friday,” Hill said. “We will see less wind, not much of a breeze Friday night, and that will be beneficial.”

Marion County Game Warden Jack Pearl said late Friday that officials did not have any further information about the search at the time.

Marion County Sheriff David McKnight had not returned calls for comment by late Friday.

Harrison County Game Warden Darrin Peeples said Friday afternoon that he was aware of the drowning and was preparing to go help with the search, although Lake O’ the Pines is in Marion County’s jurisdiction.

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