Body of Drowning Victim Recovered from Center Hill Lake

June 30, 2008
Dwayne Page

The body of a 47 year old Gainesboro man was found by divers Monday afternoon near Cookeville Boat Dock on Center Hill Lake, the victim of an apparent drowning.

Dead is Jerry E. Stewart.

Stewart's body was located around 12:30 p.m. in about 20 feet of water approximately 300 to 400 yards from the no wake zone south of the boat dock.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says Stewart was with two friends, 27 year old Doug Foster and 28 year old Jessica Harding, both of Gainesboro on a small boat jug fishing when the incident occurred late Saturday night. He says the man either fell or stepped off the boat and into the lake just before midnight.

Foster jumped in the water but was unable to save Stewart.

Foster and Harding returned to Cookeville Boat Dock to get help. Someone alerted Central dispatch around 11:55 p.m.

Members of the TWRA, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, DeKalb County Rescue Squad, and DeKalb County Sheriff's Department were called to the scene and remained on the lake throughout the day Sunday and into Sunday night.

They returned to the scene Monday morning along with divers from the Putnam County and Jackson County Rescue Squads and the East Clay County Fire Department.

An autopsy will be performed to determine the exact cause of death. Sheriff Ray says it appears alcohol may have been a factor.

Sheriff Ray says he wants to thank members of the TWRA, the DeKalb County Rescue Squad, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for their hard work in this effort and to the operators of Cookeville Boat Dock who provided food and drinks to those conducting the search.

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