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Authorities identify three men who drowned in Toledo Bend; crews working to find their boat

Multiple law enforcement agencies find additional bodies in a drowning accident
Multiple law enforcement agencies find additional bodies in a drowning accident(Sabine Parish Sheriff's Offices)
Published: Jul. 31, 2021 at 10:06 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 24, 2021 at 5:06 PM CDT

SABINE PARISH, La. (KSLA) — The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) has released the names of the boaters who drowned July 30.

The bodies of 46-year-old Paul L. Murphy Jr. and 44-year-old Joseph L. Sam Jr., both of Opelousas, and 40-year-old James F. Young, of Lafayette, have been recovered from Toledo Bend Reservoir.

Two bodies were recovered by authorities from Toledo Bend, according to the Sabine Parish Sheriff’s Office. A third body was discovered in the San Miguel Bayou area of Toledo Bend just after noon Saturday, July 31.

“The body of Murphy Jr. was recovered around 12:45 p.m. wearing a personal flotation device (PFD) on July 31 near Stonewall Jackson Dr. The bodies of Sam Jr. and Young were recovered around 7 a.m. on Aug. 1 without wearing PFDs,” reads a news release from LDWF.

The men had not been heard from since and a truck and trailer were found parked at the boat launch at the end of Louisiana Highway 1215.

Officials say some of the men’s fishing gear was found but the boat they were in has not been located, however, it is believed to be on the bottom of the lake. One of the men was found wearing a life jacket and the other two were not.

According to Wildlife and Fisheries Region 3 Captain Trey Mason, the investigation is ongoing and autopsy results of the three men are pending. The preliminary result of the investigation is fresh water drowning at this time.

Authorities also are working to determine what caused the men to enter the water and how their boat sank. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries continues to investigate the incident.

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