Unsuccessful third day in search of Albany hunter - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Unsuccessful third day in search of Albany hunter

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By Christian Jennings - bio | email

CHATTAHOOCHEE,  FL (WALB) Searchers on the Apalachicola River wrapped up their third day of looking for an Albany hunter.

John Slappey was swept over the Jim Woodruff Dam on Lake Seminole while he was duck hunting Sunday afternoon. Rescuers and his family presume he drowned.

So far they've recovered some of John Slappey's equipment but still no sign of him. And last week's heavy rain and flooding isn't helping their efforts.

It's Day three on the Apalachicola River in search of 34-year-old John Slappey of Albany. He was last seen Sunday afternoon on Lake Seminole just north of the Jim Woodruff Dam hunting ducks with his brother Andrew.

"The water as high as it is and as fast and turbulent as it is making the search difficult and that's why we're not sending down divers. It's too dangerous," said Lt. Mike Hodges with the Jackson County Sheriff's Office.

Instead Florida law officers, volunteer search and rescue teams, and just concerned citizens float atop the violent river searching for Sappy's body hoping it will float to the surface.

And water near the dam is so turbulent, search groups can't even go near it.

"There's a part that is actually like a suction and it will suck you in then keep spitting you back out," said Lt. Hodges.

On Sunday when Slappey went over the spillway gate dam workers tried rescuing him and say he re-surfaced twice, only to be pulled down one final time by the current.

"I was hoping we'd get that call that a guy was cold and wet and needed a ride home, but it just hasn't happened," said Chattahoochee Police Chief Vann Pullen.

Slappey leaves behind his wife Mandy and their 1-year-old daughter Sawyer. Search teams say they won't give up on finding Slappey's body.

"At least to be able to recover the body so the family has closure," said Hodges.

Even if that means continuing their search on Christmas Day. Family members we spoke with are obviously struggling to grasp what happened to Slappey.

They're encouraging the community that in lieu of flowers to sent memorial contributions to St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital or Wewa Search and Rescue many of the men and women who have been searching for his body are volunteers, and the family wants to thank them.

A celebration of life service is already set for John Slappey in Albany on 1 pm December 26th.

KIMBRELL-STERN OBITURAY

DECEMBER 24, 2009

A celebration of life service for John Mark Slappey, 34 of Albany will be held at 1 PM, Saturday, December 26, 2009 at First United Methodist Church in Albany.  Dr. Tom Jacobs and Rev. Mitch Friar will officiate.  The family will receive friends following the service.

John was a native of Albany and a life long resident of the area.  He attended Lee County High School,  Riverview Academy and was a 94 graduate of Terrell Academy.  He was former employee of FedEx Freight and was an employee of  Conway Freight.  He was a loving husband, father, son, grandson, brother, and friend to all that knew him.  He was a cowboy, an avid hunter, fisherman and a lover of animals.  He was of the Methodist faith.

He is survived by his wife, Mandy DeLoach Slappey, daughter, Sawyer Slappey; his parents: Mark Slappey, and Susan Dismuke, his step-father, Alan Dismuke, Sr., his step-mother, Carol Slappey, his brothers, Andrew Dismuke and Alan Dismuke Jr., his sisters, Heather Culpepper,  Jennifer Slappey, and Cindy Dollander, his father-in-law, Benjie DeLoach and mother-in-law Elaine DeLoach, his grandmother, Mrs. A. M. Slappey Jr., his beloved dog "Shorty" and his horse "Willy".

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, 262 Danny Thomas Place, Memphis, TN 38105 or Wewa Search and Rescue, P. O. Box 966, Wewahitchka, FL  32465

You may sign the online register and share your own thoughts and memories with the family of John Slappey by visiting Kimbrell-Stern's website at www.kimbrellstern.com.



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