Missing Boater Found Dead at Bottom of Lake

By: Courtney Hayes
By: Courtney Hayes

The search is over for a Lynn Haven man who went missing after jumping from his boat to take a swim in Deerpoint Lake Thursday. Sheriff's divers and wildlife officers found the man's body at the bottom of the lake Friday evening.

A family's worst fears have come true Friday night after a search for their loved one comes to an tragic end. Twenty-two-year-old James Worthing's body was found at the bottom of the Deerpoint Lake, almost 24 hours after search crews went looking for him.

Things went awry when Worthing and a friend decided to take a swim in Deerpoint Lake late Thursday afternoon. When the two men jumped off their boat the throttle was still in forward motion and pulled away, leaving the two men stranded in the water.

Worthing's friend was able to swim ashore, but Worthing didn't make it. After 24 hours of searching by close to a dozen different agencies, Worthing was finally found.

"Around 6:26 this evening searchers recovered the body of James Worthing. A positive identification was found. He was recovered from the same area where search efforts were being made," says Investigator David Ward of the Bay County Sheriff's Office.

Worthing’s body was brought to a boat ramp at Bay Head, miles away from where the family was waiting. Sheriff's investigators have not determined an official cause of death.

Inv. Ward says an autopsy will help put together the missing pieces.

"We're still in the course of investigating what occurred pending an autopsy. We'll better understand," says Ward.

Ward says the search was aided by a number of different agencies including the U.S. Coast Guard, FSU's underwater crime team, Gulf and Franklin County officials and many others.


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