Identity Released for Hamilton County Man Still Missing in Suwannee River

By: Garin Flowers; Eyewitness News; Greg Gullberg Email
By: Garin Flowers; Eyewitness News; Greg Gullberg Email

[UPDATE] Suwannee County, Florida- August 13, 2012

We now know the identity of a Hamilton County man who went missing in the Suwannee River last month.

Suwannee County Sheriff Tony Cameron says 37-year-old Arthur Padgett is the man they've been searching for.

He was with his family July 14th swimming in the river near the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park.

While standing near a sandbar, he suddenly dropped into the water.

Cameron says Padgett's 12-year-old step daughter was the last one to see him.

This is the same spot where a Valdosta State cross crountry runner drowned last week. Deputies recovered his body Thursday.

As of now they don't know where Padgett's body is located, but say they won't stop searching until he is found.

[UPDATE] Suwannee County, Florida- August 8, 2012

The search for a man who went missing in the Suwannee River is now in its fourth week.

The man, whose identity has not been released, was with his family July 14 at the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park.

He was swimming in chest deep water near a sandbar when he disappeared.

Search crews have added more boats and cadaver dogs from the Nassau County Sheriff's Office.

So far they haven't found him. Sheriff deputies say they go out there everyday and search for hours.

- Suwannee Co., FL - July 20, 2012 -

Search teams are ramping up their efforts to find a local man missing in a river.

Search teams have been out in full force since the man went missing Saturday, July 14th. The man was last seen on a sandbar when he stepped into the water and was never seen again. Now Suwannee County Sheriff Tony Cameron says he is missing and presumed dead.

All the boats, fishing hooks and helicopters still have not been enough to find the missing man. Friday the Sheriff's Department began using cadaver dogs. The dogs ride in the boat with the deputies and sniff for the smell of rotting flesh.

The Suwannee County Sheriff's Office has still not released the man's name. They say he is a middle aged white male from the Jennings area in Hamilton County, Florida.

The was visiting the Suwannee County Music Park with his family, just like many folks we talked to.

"It's a wonderful place to visit. A wonderful campground. It's just sad that this shadow is cast over the community at this time," said David Odom, who is visiting with his family from North Carolina for a little league baseball tournament in Live Oak.

The sheriff says they will not stop looking for the man anytime soon. Until then, the sections of the park leading up to the river are closed off.

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Suwannee County, Florida- July 18, 2012

The search for a missing man in the Suwannee River continues for the fourth straight day.

Sheriff's Deputies say the man was with his family at the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park just North of Live Oak.
He was walking along a sandbar in the river when he stepped off.
He hasn't been seen since.

Search teams are using boats, fishing hooks and even helicopters.
The river is much higher than normal after Tropical Storm Debby.
The high water is causing very strong currents.
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Suwannee County, Florida- July 17, 2012

Dive crews are searching for the body of a man they believe drowned in a local river.

The Suwannee County Sheriff's Office says the man is from Hamilton County and disappeared in the Suwannee River on Saturday. They describe him as a while man, in his late thirties, but have not released his name. The man reportedly stepped off a sand bar near the Spirit of Suwannee Music Park on Highway 129 and disappeared.

Both Suwannee and Columbia County Sheriff's Offices have been searching for his body since Saturday.

We have a crew on scene and will have more details tonight on Eyewitness News.

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Suwannee County, Florida - July 17, 2012 -

Eyewitness News has confirmed with the Suwannee County Sheriff's Office that a white male from Hamilton County in his late thirties disappeared on Saturday, July 14th in the Suwannee River. The man reportedly stepped off of a sand bar near the Spirit of Suwannee Music Park on U.S. Highway 129 and disappeared. Both Suwannee and Columbia County Sheriff's Offices have been searching for the body since Saturday.

SCSO would not confirm any other information for Eyewitness News at this time. Stay with WCTV for details.


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