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UPDATE: Crews find body of missing boater

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Photo by: Ty Russell Photo by: Ty Russell

UPDATE SUNDAY

STERLINGTON, La. (KNOE 8 News) - The body of missing boater Jeffrey Easter was found Saturday night, not far from where authorities found his abandoned boat.

It was just two miles north of the Sterlington boat ramp where the boat of Jeffrey Easter was found abandoned Friday afternoon, and where his body was discovered Saturday around 10:45 pm.

"Indications were someone had fallen from the boat," says Wildlife and Fisheries officer, Lt. Scott Matthews.

Matthews launched his boat in Sterlington around 2:00 Friday for an afternoon of fishing, and just 3 hours later, his was missing.

"The Ouachita Parish Sheriff's Office sent their dive team," says Matthews, "we used side scan sonar that we have, that can take a picture and image of the water bottom."

After almost 30 hours of searching, Easter's body was found about 80 yards from his boat.

The cause of death has yet to be determined, but Matthews says several factors could have played a role.

"Stress on you on the water way, you have the sunlight, the wind," says Matthews, "if he has any medical history, it's certainly possible for anyone to be on the deck of a boat and suffer a heart attack."

The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries hopes this acts as a wake up call to other boaters, to remember to stay safe on the water.

Easter's body has been sent to Little Rock for an autopsy.

UPDATE SATURDAY NIGHT

STERLINGTON, La. (KNOE 8 News) - The body of Jeffrey Easter has been found, according to law enforcement. Sheriff Jay Russell confirms the body was found near the location of where his boat was found Friday evening.

Wildlife and Fisheries say the boat was discovered about a little less that 2 miles, just north of the Sterlington boat dock.

We will have more as this story develops on the KNOE 8 News Weekend Report at 5:30 P.M. and Ten.

UPDATE SATURDAY EVENING

STERLINGTON, La. (KNOE 8 News) - Relatives are hoping for some good news after a loved one went missing on the Ouachita River. Wildlife and Fisheries agents say Jeffrey Easter has been missing since Friday afternoon.

Agents say they found Easter's fishing boat nearly two miles away from the Sterlington boat dock. Dive crews started looking for Easter Friday night.

Deputies say they're not stopping their search anytime soon.

"We, along with Wildlife and Fisheries, we have Union Parish Sheriff's Office also on the scene. We're going to be here until the end," Cpt. Dale Chelette said.

Crews are scheduled to continue the search Sunday morning. Relatives are giving no comments about the search efforts at this time.

ORIGINAL STORY

STERLINGTON, La. (KNOE 8 News) - Ouachita sheriff's deputies and Wildlife and Fisheries agents are searching for a missing boater.

The unknown man went missing Friday, according to deputies. Wildlife agents discovered a missing boat at 5:40 p.m. Friday on the Ouachita River near Sterlington. 

Investigators say relatives were contacted and the owner was deemed missing.

As of Saturday, the search is still ongoing and an OPSO dive team has been deployed.

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