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Second body found in Neuse River

Posted July 9, 2008

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— Emergency crews on Wednesday found the body of a second missing man who went swimming in the Neuse River.

Officials found the first man's body earlier Wednesday.

The men were identified as John Brian Taylor, 21, and Michael Patrick McDowell, 20.

At about 2 a.m. Wednesday, Taylor, McDowell and a third man, whose name was not released, swam across the river and walked to the Milburnie Dam near the east river canoe launch, police said.

Just before 3 a.m., the men began to swim back. When one of the men called out for help, the other two men swam out to help but couldn't get to him, officials said. Only one man made it out of the water.

“The gentleman that called us had been diving under the water trying to find his friend to see if he could find him underwater. When he resurfaced he didn't see his original friend or the friend who went in to rescue him,” Jeff Hammerstein, Wake emergency services chief, said.

William Riley said his son, McDowell, was very athletic and a very good swimmer. McDowell was a star running back at East Wake High School and graduated a few years ago, his father said.

Nancy Leatherwood, a family friend of McDowell, said the section of the Neuse River the men were visiting is a popular nighttime hangout.

“It is very dark down there, you can't see (and) that's part of the problem,” Leatherwood said.

Tune in to WRAL News at 11 for family members remembering McDowell.

35 Comments

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  • WRALSUCKS Jul 9, 2008

    "Why don't people wear life jackets when they are in boats or swimming in water over their heads? Just a thought."

    At 3 AM????

  • tsquaring Jul 9, 2008

    Jake, the current does pick up a bit there, but it doesn't seem enough to drown someone. I was canoeing there July 4th and it's very rocky there and I wonder if that might also had been a factor somehow.

  • juliemc58 Jul 9, 2008

    Why don't people wear life jackets when they are in boats or swimming in water over their heads? Just a thought.

  • craziecrafter Jul 9, 2008

    This is so sad...could of been avoidable.

  • bluewind Jul 9, 2008

    So sorry to hear this...Praying for the families...

  • davidgnews Jul 9, 2008

    doodad, I felt the same way at that age. The party was never going to end !

  • doodad Jul 9, 2008

    david, I stand corrected.

  • davidgnews Jul 9, 2008

    If this happened to the one man, the other may have tried to go in after him and was drug down from him panicing. Just a thought anyway. Reader X

    That will happen in a lot of cases. When I took a lifesaving course (Red Cross) that was the first thing they taught about swimming out and approahing someone. You're supposed to go under and around them, then surface and grab them from behind the shoulders to keep them from latching on to you.

  • Reader X Jul 9, 2008

    It's sad to hear about this and my heart goes out to the families. This can happen to the strongest of swimmers and it isn't always current related. I once almost became a victom of drowning when both my legs cramped up at the same time in the cool water and I felt like I was almost paralized from the waist down. Evidently I had gotten a little dehydrated. If this happened to the one man, the other may have tried to go in after him and was drug down from him panicing. Just a thought anyway.

  • Jake Wildstar Jul 9, 2008

    Thats horrible, are the currents that strong in the river? My prayers go out to the families.

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