Search continues for missing judicial candidate

March 21, 2010 2:45:10 PM PDT
The search continued Sunday for a missing judicial candidate believed to have drowned while fishing. Tom Zachry, 66, has been missing since Friday, when his fishing boat capsized on Aquilla Lake, about 65 miles south of Fort Worth. Zachry and his fishing partner clung to the boat before Zachry tried to swim to shore for help.

Hill County Emergency Management Coordinator Tom Hemrick told the Fort Worth-Star Telegram that officials are in "recovery mode" and do not expect to find Zachry alive. A dispatcher told The Associated Press on Sunday that county officials were at the lake but had not recovered a body.

The search team, which includes game wardens, looked for Zachry until dark Friday and during daylight hours Saturday. But strong winds and cold weather made lake conditions dangerous, Hemrick said.

"The wind is blowing extremely strong," he told the newspaper. "The water is whitecapping. It's a dangerous place to be."

The Fort Worth attorney won the Republican primary for a state district judge position earlier this month. Democrats have not put forth a candidate for the general election in November, and Zachry had been expected to take the office.

The Tarrant County Republican Party Executive Committee will select a replacement to fill Zachry's spot on the ballot, said Ann Diamond, a deputy chief in the civil division of the district attorney's office. He was running to be the judge of the 432nd District Court in Tarrant County.

Friends say Zachry's lifelong goal was to be a judge.

"You win a hard election and are on top of the world, and then it's time to leave?" Johnson County District Attorney Dale Hanna, a longtime friend, told the newspaper. "I don't understand that. I guess that's the way life works sometimes."


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