Body of man found floating in Putnam County lake


HAWTHORNE, Fla. – The Putnam County Sheriff's Office said a man's body was found floating in Cowpen Lake near Hawthorne on Wednesday after what appears to be a deadly boating accident.

Putnam County deputies and agents with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission were investigating Wednesday night.

According to deputies, 39-year-old Kyle Parker borrowed a canoe from a friend. After that friend didn't hear from Parker for a long time, he went out looking for him in another boat, found the canoe and then found Parker's body. He immediately called the Sheriff's Office, and deputies contacted the FWC.

When they arrived at 139 East Cowpen Lake Point Road around 5:30 p.m., deputies found Parker's body about 75 yards out floating in the lake. FWC agents recovered the body and brought it back to shore about 8:30 p.m.

Parker appeared to have been alone and was not wearing a life jacket, officials said.

"The initial indicators are that it is a boating accident," said PCSO spokesman Hancel Woods. "So it's very likely that it's going to be a Florida Wildlife Commission case. That they will actually work the investigation."

Cowpen Lake is several hundred acres. Woods said there have been at least four drownings in the past 18 months in Putnam County where the person was boating alone and not wearing a life jacket.

"Unfortunately, we have had several boating accidents. I would like, if there was anything positive that can come out of this situation like this, to remind people to please wear their life jackets and have life preservers in the boat. I highly recommend that you don't boat alone so if something goes wrong there is a possibility for someone else to be there with you and if you do end up in the water, for whatever reason, then you are going to have a better chance to survive if you have a life vessel," said Woods. "Please wear your life vest and please don't boat alone, it can be very dangerous."

The medical examiner will perform an autopsy to determine Parker's cause of death.