Newton Co. authorities identify recent drowning victim

NEWTON COUNTY, Miss. (WTOK) - Newton County authorities and neighboring agencies responded to a call of a missing man near a private lake in the Little Rock community late Tuesday.

After hours of searching, first responders recovered the body of 51-year-old Terry Wayne Barnett.

"We had first responders on scene in less than 10 minutes. Once those responders were on scene and they relayed information to me that there was evidence to show high probability of an individual being in the water, I immediately activated a mutual aid and got that dive team en route," Newton County EMA Director John Williamson said.

Newscenter 11 talked to the woman who called 911 and reported the drowning.

Margie Edwards, who lives near the lake, says she was cutting the grass when she noticed a strange object floating in the lake. That object was Barnett’s kayak and it had capsized.

"Colin Ogletree, my nephew, brought the kayak back over onto the land and I went on back up the lake and that's when I discovered a paddle and a rod and reel," said Edwards. "And they could determine that area when the searching was beginning and I believe it was like 40 yards from where I had gotten the rod and reel. And they actually found the body later last night, in about 10 feet of water."

Edwards says the Barnett family had just lost another loved one the week before the drowning

The family was too emotional to talk to us on camera, but is asking for prayers and support from the community.

"I’m just sorry. If I think that sometimes if I had arrived 15 minutes earlier, maybe I had seen him and I might have seen him fall in and I could've reacted quicker," said Edwards. "I'm just sorry. But I am grateful for what we did do and got people out here."

Authorities don’t know how Barnett got into trouble while fishing or why the kayak capsized. The drowning is still being investigated. Barnett was not wearing a life jacket when he was recovered.