Photo Taken By: Coleman Taylor

The west portion of Lake Harrison has been searched thoroughly and no concrete evidence has been found. The focus of the search has turned to the east side of the lake which has yet to be drained and searched. City officials have determined a way they believe will increase the flow of the lake and cause water levels to drop faster and allow them to conduct a search soon.

It has been said that draining the east side of the lake would require two weeks of no rain, with the new process taking effect that time has been reduced to approximately one week, which is far more viable considering the amount of rainfall expected for this time of year.

One potential break in the investigation has been found. Chief of Police Chris Graddy said he received an email regarding flesh samples sent for DNA extraction stating there is one sample with the viable presence of a particular type of cell that carries DNA. This does not mean that DNA will be extracted necessarily, but Chief Graddy said this has been the most positive piece of information the department has received in this investigation.  Fire Chief Marc Lowery has kept a small number of personnel on the sight everyday that weather permits searching for evidence.

Overtime and excavation cost totals were given at the committee meeting of the City Council on Thursday night. As of December 31st, overtime cost for the search has totaled approximately $15,000. Additional cost for digging and excavating paid to Crouse Construction Company has totaled a little over $16,000. All together the approximate cost for the search thus far has totaled $31,600.

There is no clear end to the search at this point. Mayor Jackson said the city is focused on draining the east side of the lake and then would be able to assess where to go with the investigation.

Chief Graddy said the investigation has presented no evidence to say that this situation was anything more than, “a tragic accident.”

Story by: Coleman Taylor

colemansmith@ozarkmmg.com