Apparent Drowning Victim Pulled From North Bay

The Bay County Sheriff’s Office located the body of 48 year old Karl Anthony Woodward from the water near Donald Penny boat ramp around 5:30 Wednesday morning.

BCSO deputies responded to a call in reference to a verbal altercation between a man and a woman at the Donald Penny boat ramp last Tuesday evening.

When they arrived, deputies found Karl Woodward sitting on the edge of the dock by himself. Deputies spoke with Woodward and it was obvious he was intoxicated. There was a bottle of whiskey near Woodward.

Woodward was belligerent and uncooperative, refusing any help from deputies.

As the deputy attempted to assist Woodward to his feet he jumped into the water stating he was going to swim out to his sailboat. Woodward swam to a sailboat anchored in the middle of the bayou, screaming profanities at the deputies and refusing help.

As Woodward’s behavior was erratic and placed himself in danger, deputies used a nearby dingy and a pole to get out to the sailboat and get Woodward to safety.

Woodward jumped back into the water, swimming to a nearby barge and tried to climb onto the barge but was unable. Deputies got close enough to throw a rope to Woodward but he refused. They also placed the pole near him, encouraging him to get out of the water but he again refused, going under the water and extending his arm above the water and waving “bye” at them.

Finally, Woodward appeared to become distressed and got very still while underwater and then sank out of view.

One of the deputies jumped into the water but due to the low visibility in the water was unable to find Woodward. The deputy searched around the barge and underwater in case Woodward was trapped under the barge but could not find him and finally had to leave the water due to cold temperatures.

By this time other deputies arrived and the BCSO Dive Team was called to the scene. A BCSO Air Unit aerial search was done but was unable to find Woodward.

Contact was made with Woodward’s wife who stated she and another man had tried to get Woodward out the water earlier in the evening but he had been combative and belligerent with them and they had finally left him sitting on the dock by himself.

Woodward’s body was turned over to the Medical Examiner.