Car Pulled from River; Bodies Found Inside
The search for a trio of missing adults has ended, tragically, in northeast Louisiana. 68-year-old Eddie Cobb, his 49-year-old nephew, Brady Brown, 52-year-old and Ella Williams left Columbia, South Carolina, on January 7th -- bound for Shreveport. Once here, Brown was going to pick up a new vehicle and drive it back to South Carolina while Cobb and Williams continued on to their home(s) in Beaumont, Texas. However, the last contact anyone had with them was the evening of January 7th while they were traveling through the Covington, Georgia, area.
On January 10, the South Carolina Highway Patrol alerted all states along the I-20 corridor to be on the lookout for the gold 2006 Dodge Stratus they were driving and the three missing adults. Law enforcement agencies throughout the area had been looking for them since then but had come up empty-handed.
Then yesterday (01/29) afternoon, a Louisiana State Police helicopter with a team of LSP investigators on board was conducting a fly-over along I-20, specifically searching for this vehicle, when one of the investigators spotted what looked like a car's bumper floating in the Tensas River. That bumper was retrieved and the South Carolina temporary tag attached to it confirmed that it was, indeed, the missing Dodge.
Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries agents immediately began to drag the river -- looking for the car -- but had to call off their search because of impending severe weather and nightfall. They returned to the river this morning, along with a dive team from the Ouachita Parish Sheriff's office, and were able to locate and retrieve the car. Inside, they found the bodies of the three missing adults.
State Police Lieutenant Julie Lewis tells me that weather is not believed to have been a factor, since the driver's window was open. She says the car appears to have left the interstate on the left hand side; traveled for some distance through the grass center median; then plowed straight into the river. She says there was no sign that the driver, Cobb, made any attempt to take corrective measures.
All three occupants were pronounced dead at the scene. A toxicology sample was obtained from Cobb and sent to the Crime Lab for analysis. The Madison Parish Coroner has ordered an autopsy on Cobb's body to determine whether a medical condition might have contributed to the fatal crash. The investigation remains ongoing.