Two teenagers drown in Homochitto

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 11, 2001

MEADVILLE — Two Franklin County teenagers drowned Monday evening after wading into the Homochitto River near Bunkley.

Franklin County Sheriff James Newman said 15-year-old Eligah James McDonald and 14-year-old Deon Carradine were walking along the river with several other juveniles when the group decided to wade into the river.

&uot;Two of them went under and didn’t come up,&uot; he said. The others in the group ran to a neighbor’s house and called for help. The sheriff’s office received the initial call shortly after 5 p.m.

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Apparently the swift undercurrent pulled the boys down, Newman said.

&uot;The Homochitto river can be treacherous,&uot; he said. &uot;This is just a tragic situation. It’s always terrible, but it’s worse with children.&uot;

As dozens of relatives and friends lined the banks of the river Monday evening, search crews from all over the region began searching for the boys’ bodies. Crews from Franklin, Pike, Amite and Adams counties assisted in the search, Newman said.

Search crews worked into the night, finding one of the boys at around 10:20 p.m. and the other shortly after midnight. The river was about 18 to 20 feet deep where they were found.

&uot;That river is tricky and treacherous,&uot; Newman said.

Not only was the river deep in that location, but its strong current hampered recovery efforts.

&uot;I know the boys did not intend on getting in trouble in the river,&uot; said Franklin County Coroner&160;Percy Peeler. &uot;The Homochitto River is a dangerous place.&uot;

The drowning was the first in Franklin County in about four years, Newman said.

&uot;I’d like to say thanks for the family to all of the searchers,&uot; Newman said. &uot;They’re too upset to right now.&uot;