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Authorities find victim of Milford drowning days after disappearance

On May 3, 2022, Geary Co. authorities search for a man last seen attempting to swim ashore at...
On May 3, 2022, Geary Co. authorities search for a man last seen attempting to swim ashore at Milford Lake.(WIBW/Becky Goff)
Published: May. 13, 2022 at 6:08 PM CDT
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JUNCTION CITY, Kan. (WIBW) - The man who was last seen swimming to shore to call for help after getting in a homemade water vessel at Milford Lake has been found nearly two weeks later.

On Friday, May 13, the Geary Co. Sheriff’s Office said the body of Jesse Paul Sockness, the victim of a drowning at Milford Lake, has been found.

The Sheriff’s Office said Sockness was last seen on Saturday afternoon, April 30, when deputies were called to Eagle Ridge Campground with reports of a woman who had drifted to the shoreline in a homemade “water vessel.”

Deputies said Sockness’s body was found floating in the water a few hundred yards north of where he was suspected to have gone in.

The woman told deputies Sockness had been with her walking near Curtis Creek when they found the vessel made from 55-gallon drums and 2x4 lumber. They proceeded to get in the vessel and were caught by winds and pulled towards the main body of the lake.

The woman noted Sockness had jumped into the water to swim to shore and call for help. He was last seen in the water as she drifted away in the vessel.

Geary Co. authorities searched for Sockness during daylight hours from Saturday, April 30, until Friday, May 13. The search had been called off around 10 a.m. on Monday due to weather conditions and was resumed on Tuesday.

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