John Slappey's brother thanks community for support - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

John Slappey's brother thanks community for support

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By Christian Jennings - bio | email

ALBANY,  GA (WALB) – After four days of searching near the Jim Woodruff dam on lake Seminole there is still no sign of 34-year-old John Slappey of Albany.

Searchers presume he drowned Sunday after being swept over the dam while duck hunting. Family members are doing their best to cope.

Kind, quiet, and loving.

"He was a very giving guy, very caring guy." That's how John Slappey's brother Alan Dismuke and family friend Dean Lewis describe the man they lost to violent water.

"He was what I call a man's man he liked to hunt and fish and he liked to do it with his brother Andrew," said Lewis.

And that was the last thing he did. Sunday afternoon Slappey was duck hunting with his brother Andrew Dismuke on Lake Seminole when he got too close to the Jim Woodruff dam and was sucked over the spillway into the treacherous water below.

"I don't know if it's hit me I mean I still have that belief that he's still out there," said Dismuke.

Wednesday search teams scanned the Apalachicola River for the fourth day in a row to no avail. But it was more than just law officers searching this week. Concerned citizens from as far as Albany made the 90 minute drive to put their boats on the water to help.

"That right there is a testimate to John's character. Not many people would do that. But John's the type of guy that he's so loved that people would do that for him. That's John," said Dismuke.

Now the family is thanking their community.

"The volunteers and all the police officers, the phone calls you just don't know how thankful we are for what you have done," said Dismuke.

On the day after Christmas the family will celebrate Slappey's life with a memorial service at the First United Methodist Church in Albany. A time with friends and family with one very special member missing.

"If there was one last thing I could say to John I'd like to walk up to him and say I love you. He'll just never know how much he meant to me and I love him," said Dismuke holding back tears.

Now all this family can do is wait for a call and hope for closure.

John Slappey comes from a large and very close family here in Albany. His brother and friend say they are all pulling together to take care of each other and Slappey's wife and one-year-old daughter he left behind.

Florida officials tell us the lake level is down about three feet since Tuesday which helps their search. But the water is still too rough to send divers down.

It could still be some time until Slappey's body surfaces because of the cold temperature of the water.


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