JASPER COUNTY - by Mike Lout/KJAS - Following almost five days of extensive searching, the body of Clyde Morgan was found on Friday morning in nearby Lake Sam Rayburn.
Jasper County Sheriff Mitchel Newman said the fisherman's body was found shortly before 8:00 a.m., floating about 100 yards north of Rattlesnake Island, on the south end of the lake, not far from where his boat was found on Monday evening.
The search for Morgan, who was a 69 year old retired electrician from Erin, began on Monday when family members reported him missing.
It is believed that Morgan launched his boat from Twin Dikes boat ramp on the south side of Lake Rayburn on Monday morning with plans of returning by noon. However, he was never seen or heard from again.
Sheriff Newman said that Morgan's empty aluminum boat was found on a small island known by local fisherman known as "Ten Foot", just south of Rock Island. Newman said the throttle of the boat was still in the forward position and the ignition was still on, indicating that the boat was most likely running when it ran aground.
Newman said a close examination of the boat revealed that a bolt had come out of the steering linkage, making it impossible to steer the craft from the steering wheel and he theorized that Morgan might have been in the rear of the boat, trying to steer the motor by hand when he fell out.
Newman said that Morgan's life jacket was found in the boat and others at the scene said that his bait had not been opened and his rods and reels were still stowed, indicating that he had not made it to the area where he planned to fish.
Friends and family members gathered on the bank at Twin Dikes for days as they watched volunteers from the Jasper County Emergency Corps and other groups, along with officers from the Texas Parks and Wildlife and Sheriff Mitchel Newman and his deputies, search the area in and around where Morgan's boat was found.
Aircraft from the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department in Beaumont, along with other agencies and KJAS Radio News also assisted in the search and on Wednesday members of the Texas Equusearch Group also joined in the effort.