The search for the missing fishermen near Steel Creek Bridge ended last week when the body of John Murphy, 68, was found near Allen Creek about 3 miles from the Lake Gaston Dam, the location his boat was discovered adrift
on Monday. According to the primary investigator, Nick Belotte, of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Murphy left his dock in the River Ridge subdivision on Monday morning in his bass boat loaded with fishing the bass boat between Allen Creek and Little River, shoved into the weeds on the bank but not tied off. According to Paige Pearson, PR representative for Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, stated, “according to the report, we received the call on Tuesday, Sept. 17, at 11:13 a.m.”
The conservation officers established a command post near the steel bridge and worked on scene with Detective Chris Whittemore, under the supervision of Sheriff Bobby Hawkins with the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office. The Mecklenburg County Sheriffs Dive Team, Palmer Springs Fire Department, Churchill-Five Forks volunteer Fire Department, Southside Rescue Squad, Virginia State Police, Lake Gaston Fire. Local search and rescue organizations had five boats in the water on Monday, four boats on Tuesday, and three boats on Wednesday searching along with a few private boats belonging to friends and neighbors of the deceased’s family. Murphy’s body was found by friends of the family who were helping search on their private vessel.
Major Terry Edmonds of the Mecklenburg County Sheriffs Department said, “We assisted the DGIF in the search.” The investigation is ongoing. Murphy’s body was transported to the medical examiner’s office in Richmond, Va. for autopsy.
A massive search operation for a missing boater ended last week when the body of John Murphy was found about 3 miles from Allen Creek.