Reward Dropped for Missing Vortex Spring Diver

By: Bergen Baucom Email
By: Bergen Baucom Email

Ponce de Leon- Authorities believe thirty year old Ben McDaniel was taking a night dive at Vortex Spring in August of 2010 when he disappeared.

The underwater cave has always been a dangerous spot and challenging for even the most experienced divers. It's also where diver Larry Higginbotham died while exploring last month.

Vortex Spring has remained in the spot light of controversy since McDaniel has been missing. News Channel 7 spoke with Marianna Fire Chief, Byron Bennett who was also a member of the recovery dive team that retrieved Higginbotham.

"A number of expert divers from this area and again, from all around the country have searched every nook and cranny of this cave, and unfortunately we strongly believe he (McDaniel) is not in there. Some sort of evidence would still be there," said Bennett.

Bennett and other divers debated the McDaniel's family reward since it was publicly offered. Though well intended, Bennett said he thinks dropping the it was for the best.

"There's so many people out today who want to go in and want to try and help. When you get into a situation as dangerous as that cave is, you don't want to become the next victim," said Bennett.

Though some people believe Higginbotham was searching for McDaniel when he died, the Holmes County Sheriff's Investigators said there is no evidence supporting that claim. The McDaniel family was not available for comment Tuesday.


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