After exhaustive search
A drowning incident at Cookson Bend Marina in Cherokee County claimed the life of a Muskogee resident on July 15, according to a report issued by Oklahoma Highway Patrol.
Ray L. Hutcherson, 55, has been identified as the victim.
According to the initial reports by authorities, the incident occurred around 6:05 p.m. when the victim walked to the southeast corner of the marina near the patio area.
Witnesses on-site recounted that without warning, Hutcherson jumped into the water and immediately disappeared beneath the surface, failing to resurface.
Promptly responding to the emergency, Marine Enforcement troopers, alongside members of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol Dive Team and the Cherokee County detachment, launched an intensive search and rescue operation to locate Hutcherson. The efforts were further bolstered by assistance from the Cookson Fire Department, Game Warden Cody Youngblood, and personnel from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Despite hours of relentless searching, it was not until the following day, around 9:25 a.m., that the dive team discovered Hutcherson’s body about 14 feet below the water’s surface.
Hutcherson was not wearing a personal flotation device at the time of the incident, according to the report.
Investigating the tragic incident was Trooper Cody Cross #562 of the Marine Enforcement Division, who worked closely with Lieutenant Jon Huggins #151, Trooper Herbert Perry #349, and Trooper Stan Roedenbeck #842, all of the Marine Enforcement Division.
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol Dive Team also played a vital role, with Trooper Darrell Splawn #627, Trooper Brandon Groves #703, and Trooper Andy Floyd #261 contributing their expertise to the operation.
Additionally, Trooper Colton Croft #309 from the Cherokee County detachment of Troop C provided support.