HOWARD – A Mount Vernon man was found dead on the banks of the Kokosing River Friday morning, according to a press release from the Knox County Sheriff’s Office.
Mark Booth, 40, was found approximately 4,500 feet downstream from where he was last observed. Local law enforcement responded to a call Thursday at 5:04 p.m. concerning a possible drowning near Caves Campground. A 42-year-old woman hanging onto a tree branch was rescued, but Booth could not be located.
“He’s gone,” the caller said through tears. “He’s gone, we don’t know where he is.”
The Eastern Knox County Joint Fire District and Fredericktown Community Fire District responded with dive teams to search for Booth, although they were not able to find him by nightfall. They located him at 10:45 a.m. Friday after resuming their search.
The Ohio Special Response Team, Ohio Division of Watercraft, Knox County Sheriff’s Office, and Knox County Coroner’s Office were also on the scene at the time of Booth’s recovery, the press release stated.
According to the sheriff’s office, a group of four people had been tubing at the time of Booth’s disappearance. The person who called 911 implied Booth and the 42-year-old woman had been swept up in a current. The woman grabbed a tree, while Booth went under.
The cause of Booth’s death is still unclear. The Knox County Coroner’s Office is assisting in the investigation and an autopsy has been scheduled.