Searchers find man's body in Lake Conroe

May 30, 2011 3:35:52 PM PDT
There was an apparent drowning on Lake Conroe after the body of a man was found this morning. The victim knew how to swim so he went in after a child, but he never came back up.

The Montgomery County Precinct 1 Constable's Office says they're still investigating, but so far it appears to be a tragic accident. And the high winds and low lake levels probably didn't help the victim.

It was supposed to be a holiday weekend getaway at a rented lake house, and a family birthday celebration as well. Instead, this morning authorities recovered the body of Leonard Sowells from Lake Conroe.

"He was in good shape with his maker. We're glad about that," said Raymond McMillen, the victim's cousin.

The distress call went out around 6pm Sunday night, called in by someone in the gated Point Aquarius subdivision who saw the trouble on the lake.

"It was a boat in distress call with swimmers in the water and that could be a variety of things," said Sgt. William Sanson of the Montgomery Co. Precinct 1 Constable's Office.

The victim's cousin says it happened because Sowells, who is a minister, jumped in to rescue a child from the choppy water.

"The choppy winds like took one of the little kids, and so I went in after her and couldn't get her because the winds had swept me away and he jumped in behind," said McMillen.

He didn't come back up. Searchers looked for him until after the sun went down last night. They found his body just before 9am Monday morning.

High winds have kicked up the waves not just here on Lake Conroe, but on every body of water in southeast Texas.

"My understanding is that he was able to swim, but with the difficulties generated by the winds that we've been having and the high, heavy wave action that's been going on, it may have caused him to have some difficulties," said Sgt. Sanson.

Tonight, the family celebration on the lake is a lot more somber, as parents and siblings and children struggle to cope with the sudden loss.

"We're struggling; we're trying to get past it. It's a tragedy for us," said McMillen.

An autopsy on Leonard Sowells is underway to see if he had any underlying medical issues that contributed to the drowning. We are told that there is no indication that he was under the influence of alcohol.


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