The Wright County Sheriff’s Department is still unsure what caused a Rolla man to drown while crossing the Gasconade River in Wright County Saturday, but officials are not suspecting foul play at this time.
The sheriff’s department has released more details about the drowning incident that claimed the life of 20-year-old Jeremy B. Hinkemeyer at the Wilbur Allen Memorial Conservation Area.
According to the sheriff’s department, Hinkemeyer and three other individuals had been fishing, hunting, swimming and camping at the conservation area.
Hinkemeyer jumped into the river to swim across to the other side when a witness on shore heard Hinkemeyer call for help, the sheriff stated. Hinkemeyer was seen struggling in the water and then he disappeared under the water.
Two of the other campers found a log that was floating and used it to hold onto while they swam out to try to find Hinkemeyer, but they couldn’t locate him and swam back to shore.
The other camper went up the road to try to get cell service to call for help and ran into some other people at the river, who let the camper use their cellphone to call 911 around 3:24 p.m.
The sheriff’s office was dispatched along with the Northern Wright County, Hartville and Mountain Grove fire departments. Both fire departments did not enter the water for safety reasons as it was unknown what was below the surface of the water that would endanger the rescuers.
It was reported that the water was at least 15 feet deep, the sheriff’s office stated.
The Missouri Department of Conservation and the Missouri State Highway Patrol water patrol division provided boats and searched the area where Hinkemeyer was last seen.
As night fell and it became dark, some area men came with their gigging boats equipped with lighting and assisted in the search efforts.
Around 11:36 p.m. Sept. 28, Hinkemeyer’s body was found in the area where he was last seen.
Wright County Coroner Ben Hurtt pronounced Hinkemeyer dead at the scene. The body was taken to Craig-Hurtt Funeral Home in Mountain Grove.
Hinkemeyer lived in Rolla but was originally from New London, Minn. He attended Missouri University of Science and Technology.
Wright County Sheriff Glenn Adler thanked the Missouri Department of Conservation, Missouri State Highway Patrol, Northern Wright County, Mountain Grove and Hartville Fire Departments, the Hartville Police Department and the local individuals who brought their boats to assist the searchers’ efforts.