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Name of drowned fisherman released, JP rules death accidental

Texas Parks & Wildlife game wardens say a 76-year-old boater has drowned in the waters of Lake Sam Rayburn at the mouth of Tiger Creek. According to Game Wardens Justin Eddins and Brooks Yeates, it began at about 8:30 Thursday evening when the man was reported overdue from fishing, and his body was soon found partially in the water. (KJAS photo)

Jasper County Precinct 5 Justice of the Peace Brett Holloway has released the name of a fisherman who drowned in a Thursday evening incident in the waters of Lake Sam Rayburn at the mouth of Tiger Creek. The judge also said that he has officially ruled the death as accidental, and no autopsy was ordered.

The man has been identified as 76-year-old Kenneth Lee Fletcher, a retiree who lived in Rayburn Country and enjoyed fishing in that particular spot where he died.

Texas Parks & Wildlife Game Wardens Justin Eddins and Brooks Yeates said that they, along with Jasper County deputies and Lake Rayburn firefighters responded to that area at about 8:30 Thursday evening when Fletcher was reported overdue from fishing, and his body was found partially in the water.

According to Eddins and Yeates, it appeared that the man was leaned over and attempting to untangle a rope from the prop of his Sun Tracker pontoon boat. Game wardens say he apparently became overbalanced and fell partially into the water and was unable to right himself.

Judge Holloway said that the line that was tangled in the prop actually belonged to Fletcher and was tied to a small buoy to mark his fishing spot. Holloway also said that friends and family of Fletcher told him that it was the second time that he had gotten the rope tangled in the prop because he accidentally backed over it.

According to Game Wardens Eddins and Yeates, a Texas Parks & Wildlife accident investigation team will be at the scene on Friday to reconstruct the incident. They also noted that he was not wearing a life jacket, although because of the bizarre nature of the incident, they said that it may not have been of assistance to him.

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