BREAKING NEWS: Missing kayaker’s death ruled accidental drowning

Published 4:29 pm Friday, June 2, 2017

Covington County Coroner Norman Hobson said Friday afternoon the body pulled from the lake on Thursday was missing kayaker Brandon Hancock.

Hancock, 31, had been missing since the wee hours of Monday morning, when his fiancée, Erica Mitchell, said she dropped him off with a friend at Cypress Landing at 1 a.m. The friend returned later and said they had gotten separated in the dark, and he’d been unable to locate Hancock.

Later, Mitchell and Hancock’s friend found Hancock’s kayak near the Clearview boat landing, but there was no sign of Hancock. The only gear missing from his kayak was a machete and flashlights, Mitchell told The Star-News earlier this week.

Marine units searched for Hancock on Monday but did not locate him. Early Thursday morning, the state’s marine patrol units retrieved his body from the lake. The body was sent to the Department of Forensics for an autopsy and positive identification.

Hobson said on Friday that Hancock’s death was ruled an accidental drowning. A toxicology report has not yet been completed, he said.