News Releases

Search continues for missing Lake City boater

News Release

Monday, December 12, 2011

Media contact: Karen Parker, 386-758-0525

Search-and-rescue efforts continue for a missing Lake City resident who was reported overdue from a fishing trip Saturday night, according to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) officials.

Norris S. Demeritte, (DOB 08/31/58) was reported overdue, along with his mother, Emma G. Kelly, (DOB 12/23/36) after they had been fishing on Lake Palestine near Lake Butler. Kelly's body was located Sunday morning at 7:30 on the south end of the lake.

According to FWC officers, the two arrived at the lake at around 8 a.m. Saturday. After they didn't return from a day of fishing, the FWC was notified. Officers went to the lake and found their boat floating on Lake Palestine with no one on board at approximately 1 a.m. Sunday. The boat is a 1973 14-foot Delhi.

A search began for Demeritte and Kelly, involving the FWC, deputies from the Columbia County and Union County sheriffs' offices, members of the Department of Corrections and the U.S. Forest Service. Weather conditions are hampering the search, which is still ongoing.

In addition to boats on the water, a helicopter scanned the shoreline and officers patrolled the wooded area surrounding the lake. Approximately 30 officers are involved in the search.



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