Friends Speak About Loved One Found Near Lakesite Marina

Reported by: Alisha Searl
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Updated: 12/03/2012 7:13 pm
Commotion and crime scene tape; Jessie Swaney says it did not take long before he realized the body found in the river was his good friend.

Swaney adds, "It was total shock to everyone in the community because he was well spoken."

Swaney says his friend had an interview in Cleveland for a mechanical millwright position, so he thought he got the job, and just moved out to Bradley County.

Swaney adds, "He basically worked on just about everyone's boats around here."

Swaney says it was not unusual for his friend to pick up and leave for a few weeks without telling a lot of people.

So, when his body was found, Swaney admits his jaw dropped open.

Janice Atkinson, with the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office, says, "It was recovered from the water and transported by the Hamilton County Medical Services to the medical examiner's office for further testing."

Friends and family do not believe the autopsy results will indicate a homicide.

Swaney says his friend lived on a boat, and could have accidentally fallen into the water.

Swaney adds, "It's accidental. We're pretty positive. I can't say, they haven't released that yet, but we're 99 percent it's accidental."

But a criminal investigation is underway until deputies know for sure.

Atkinson adds, "Every undetermined death is treated as a crime scene until they can find out differently."

Meanwhile, friends are trying to raise more than $1,500 for the family, so their loved one can be cremated.

Swaney add,s "He wanted to be cremated and put back in the river."

The same river, they say, where his body was enveloped by 35 degree temperatures.

Swaney adds, "I give out my heart to his family and friends and we love him."

Friends tell us he was a good father, friend, and son.

Now, the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office is not releasing his name Monday night, so out of respect for the family, we will not either.

If you want to donate money to the family, you can at Dockside on Lakesite Marina or Chilis on Highway 153 in Hixson.

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