This morning Louisiana State Police, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Madison Parish Sheriff's Office and Ouachita Parish Sheriff's Office Dive Team recovered the vehicle and individuals who were the subject of a South Carolina missing persons' investigation.
On January 7, 2013, Eddie L. Cobb, Jr., Brady S. Brown and Ella Williams departed Columbia, South Carolina en route to Shreveport, Louisiana via I-20 where Mr. Brown would pick up a new vehicle and return to South Carolina. Mr. Cobb and Ms. Williams would continue to their homes in Beaumont, TX. The last contact with them was made on the evening of the 7th while they were traveling through the Covington, Georgia area and there had been no contact since.
On January 10, 2013, South Carolina Highway Patrol issued a "be on the lookout" (BOLO) advisory for all states along the 1-20 corridor in which they likely would be traveling.
On January 29, 2013, Louisiana State Police's Air Support Unit and LSP Bureau of Investigations' Investigators conducted a helicopter fly-over along I-20 specifically searching for this vehicle. From the air, investigators spotted a detached bumper floating in the Tensas River near I-20 (milepost 161).
This bumper appeared to match the missing vehicle. Investigators recovered the debris and an attached South Carolina temporary tag contained identifying vehicle information that would be consistent with a Dodge Stratus. Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries began to drag the Tensas River in the area where the debris was found but due to impeding severe weather and nightfall, the operation was suspended until the following day.
On the morning of January 30, 2013, Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries and a dive team from the Ouachita Parish Sheriff's office were able to locate and recover the Dodge Stratus and the missing individuals who were located inside.
The preliminary investigation revealed that a 2006 Dodge Stratus, driven by 68-year-old Eddie Cobb Jr. of Beaumont, Texas, was traveling west on Interstate 20 when for unknown reasons ran off the left side of the road and traveled into the median. The Dodge continued traveling west in the median until it crashed into the Tensas River approximately 10 miles west of Tallulah.
Cobb, along with two passengers, 52-year-old Ella Williams of Beaumont, TX and 49-year-old Brady Brown of Columbia, South Carolina, were pronounced dead at the scene by the Madison Parish Coroner's Office. Cobb was wearing a seatbelt, Brown was not restrained and it is unknown if Williams was restrained.
A toxicology sample was obtained from Cobb and will be submitted for analysis. Madison Parish Coroner's Office has requested an autopsy on Cobb in an attempt to determine if a medical condition was a factor. This crash remains under investigation.
Louisiana State Police have identified the victims found inside the car pulled from the Tensas River.
They are 48 year-old Brady Brown, 67 year-old Eddie Lee Cobb, Jr., and 51 year-old Ella Williams.
Brown, Cobb and Williams had been missing since Jan.7. They were traveling back to Shreveport after attending a funeral in Columbia, South Carolina.
Brown, a truck driver from Columbia, South Carolina, lost his mother earlier this month.
His uncle, Eddie Lee Cobb, Jr. and his girlfriend, Ella Williams, came to South Carolina from Texas for Brown's mother's funeral.
Brown was catching a ride back to Texas with them in order to pick up a new truck he bought in Louisiana.
Photos of the car being pulled out of
Photos of the victims. (Credit: KTAL)
Eddie Cobb, Jr.
MADISON PARISH --
Louisiana State Police say a car was pulled from the Tensas
River with three people inside.
Troopers say the car is being taken to the Madison Parish Detention Center where they'll finish recovering the bodies and make the proper identification.
Troopers say the car was headed west on I-20 when it ran off the road and into the river.
Troopers did a fly over yesterday of the area and spotted the bumper of the car in the river.
Crews went out this morning and confirmed it was the car they were searching for.
The NBC affiliate in Columbia, South Carolina ran a story of the search for three people following a funeral.
Click here to read the story.