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Missing Boater Found

By: Jennifer Ryan
By: Jennifer Ryan

It's a tragic end to the Christmas holiday; an entire family is grieving along the Ochlockonee River bank, all anxiously awaiting closure.

Their loved one has gone missing. Many say his failing heart is to blame.

Lewis Donn Miles II, the son of the missing boater, says, "He was a real good man. He taught me everything I know about life."

That man is 54-year-old Lewis Donn Miles, a loving husband and father of two from Port St. Joe. It was the family's annual Christmas vacation at a private hunting camp, but this year something went wrong.

SGT Carl Whaley with the Franklin County Sheriff's Office says, "A hunter found the boat circling in the middle of the Ochlockonee River behind us."

That was at 7:45 Tuesday morning, just 15 minutes after Miles launched his boat to assist in a deer hunt.

“My father got in the boat and I think he had a heart attack.”

A massive search was launched immediately, four agencies in the air, on foot, and in the water.

This has become and all-too-common drill for Wakulla County's dive team. It's the third search and rescue just this fall.

CPT Cliff Carroll of the Wakulla County Sheriff's Office says, "We're more here for recovery than a rescue, same drill.”

Eight hours later that recovery brought closure.

Tommy Miles says, "We hate to see he's gone, but he died doing what he liked to do.”

Both sons say their father underwent quadruple bypass surgery two years ago and just last week they say he complained of chest pain. An autopsy will determine the exact cause of death.


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