Floating body found in Mississippi lake

Published 11:52 pm Tuesday, August 8, 2023

The cause of death of a man found floating at Sardis Lake over the weekend has not been ruled a drowning, according to Coroner Gracie Grant-Gulledge, pending the results of an autopsy at the State Medical Examiner’s office.

Bard McCullough, 56, of Horn Lake, was found dead Sunday afternoon about 4:30 p.m. caught up in the buoys strung together at Paradise Point, the main beach at the lower lake.

What was widely reported as a drowning was not ruled that way at the scene. Instead, Grant-Gulledge chose to have the man’s body sent to Jackson for further investigation.

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Pressed for details, the coroner said she will release the findings when received. Most drowning cases, as determined by the coroner when bodies are recovered, are not sent for autopsy, and are only held for more investigation if there is a doubt about the true cause of death.

Sheriff Shane Phelps said Tuesday his deputies are also in the process of talking to some of the people at the scene, or who knew the deceased.

The initial 911 call came Saturday afternoon from friends who said they were swimming with McCullough when he disappeared. “They said they turned around and he was gone,” Phelps said.

Sheriff’s deputies were joined by the county’s Emergency Operations team and officials from the Mississippi Game and Fish Commission for a search that continued until dark. On Sunday the boats were again put in the water, and the lake bottom dragged using sonar technology, to no avail.

Finally, authorities were called back to the lake Sunday afternoon when jet skiers saw the body among the buoys.

-The Panolian