Body of missing duck hunter found as search for Altha man begins
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Media contact: Lt. Scott Runkle or Stan Kirkland, 850-265-3676
A body found in the Apalachicola River Sunday night
is that of missing Albany, Ga. hunter John Mark Slappey.
The medical examiner's office in Tallahassee
confirmed the identity of the body late Monday. Slappey, 34,
was duck hunting Dec. 20 in a float tube near the Jim Woodruff Dam
when a strong current swept him through an open lock and he
disappeared beneath the water.
Searchers discovered Slappey's body about 25 miles
downriver from the dam as they began to look for Ernest Prevatte,
48, of Altha. Prevatte and his 35-year-old son-in-law, Robert
Lee Bailey Sr., went out on the Apalachicola River Sunday afternoon
on a 14-foot aluminum johnboat to check on a houseboat north of
They were several miles above the Highway 20 Bridge
when the boat began taking on water, rolled and sank, Bailey told
investigators. Neither man wore a life jacket. Bailey floated
downstream in the 53-degree water, climbed out at the Highway 20
Bridge and flagged down a motorist at 8:47 p.m.
Sunday night, Florida Fish and Wildlife
Conservation Commission (FWC) officers and an FWC helicopter with a
powerful search light looked for Prevatte. They searched
again all day Monday.
Those assisting the FWC in the search include
Wewahitchka Search and Rescue, Liberty County Search and Rescue,
the Calhoun County Sheriff's Office and volunteers.