Search and rescue crews are still looking for a missing Folsom woman following a fatal single boat incident in the Pearl River in St. Tammany Parish.
Search crews from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office received a call yesterday, March 28, at around 5:30 p.m. about a capsized boat near lock #3 on the Pearl River. The capsized boat included a male operator named Terry J. O’Keefe Jr., 41, and female passenger named Jonie R. Morgan, 31, with her three children, which are eight and six year old boys and a four year old girl all from Folsum.
LDWF agents believe at this time that the 14 foot aluminum vessel capsized after going over the lock after the operator was unable to start the boat. A 16 year old boy came upon the scene and saw the eight year and six year old boys and mother in the water.
On his way to help, the 16 year old boy’s vessel also capsized. While in the water the 16 year old boy was able to grab onto the two boys and mother, however the mother’s shirt he was holding onto ripped off of her body and she didn’t resurface. Another fisherman on the bank then went into the water and was able to get the three boys safely to shore.
While the search and rescue crews arrived on scene shortly thereafter the four year old girl popped up from under the boat and officials were able to safely retrieve her. It appears at this time that she was stuck under the vessel for about 30 minutes, but was able to breathe.
Search and rescue crews found the body of O’Keefe Jr. victim at 8 a.m. this morning, March 29. They will continue searching for Morgan.
LDWF will be the lead investigative agency for this boating incident. All children were found wearing their personal flotation devices. Investigators don’t believe O’Keefe Jr. and Morgan were wearing personal flotation devices upon entering the water.
For more information, contact Adam Einck at 225-765-2465 or firstname.lastname@example.org.