Search continues for John Slappey after more items found -, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Search continues for John Slappey after more items found

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By Christian Jennings - bio | email

ALBANY,  GA (WALB) –  An important discovery in the search for Albany hunter John Slappey. His coat and wallet were found. It was a month ago that Slappey disappeared on Lake Seminole. The discovery of these items raises hopes that his body is nearby.

His family is doing as well as can be expected. They're still very upset and sensitive though about their loved one's death. But more than anything they're thankful for the dozens of volunteers that have spent the past 30 days and nights scanning the Apalachicola River.

As Alan Dismuke, Jr. flips through pictures of his brother John Slappey memories come rushing back."I miss him, very much. Sometimes I feel like its all a nightmare and he's going to come home," said Alan Dismuke, Jr.

It's been a month since John Slappey and his brother Andrew Dismuke went duck hunting on Lake Seminole. Slappey was on a float when strong currents pulled him through the Jim Woodruff Dam gates and into the raging Apalachicola River below.

"Our life is totally changed," said Alan Dismuke, Jr.

Andrew Dismuke says he's still just too upset to talk about his brother and best friend. He and John went hunting sometimes six days a week. Now his favorite pasttime reminds him of the person he lost.

"We're still hurt, we're just taking it all day by day," they said.  But what touches this family the most is the response from volunteers. Dozens of folks from Georgia, Florida, and Alabama have been on the river everyday searching.

"These people are God's angels. They were out there on Christmas day and New years. And I was told three of them got sick out there in the cold weather. Some of them I heard are sleeping in their cars," said Dismuke.

On Tuesday search crews recovered John Slappey's camouflage jacket. In a side pocket was his wallet and ID. There's still no sign of his body. But the volunteers aren't giving up.

"They've found everyone they've ever looked for. That's why they want to keep looking, and that's great," said Chattahoochee Police Chief Vann Pullen.

"It just blows my mind. I didn't know people like that existed, they're doing so much and expecting nothing in return. All I can say from the bottom of my heart is thank you," he said.

And although finding his brother won't help ease the pain it will bring a little closure. Volunteers from Florida and Alabama have searched daily. Rescue teams say they aren't giving up, but funding for the search is getting low. They'll resume the search Thursday. And John Slappey's family hopes you'll donate to the search fund.

You can send money to the WeWa Search and Rescue...PO Box 966, Wewahitchka, Florida 32465.

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