By LIBBY CLUETT
POSSUM KINGDOM LAKE – Independence Day festivities at Possum Kingdom Lake, last weekend, were marred with tragedy, not once, but twice.
Three-year-old Wyatt Terasas was pronounced dead at Palo Pinto General Hospital Sunday evening, according to Palo Pinto County Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace Charlie “Coppy” Hodgkins Jr.,
The boy, who lived in Vernon, Texas, with his mother, was with his father (from Loving, Texas), swimming at PK Lake’s Sandy Beach Park, Hodgkins said.
When he was reported missing to the BRA, divers were immediately dispatched to search for Terasas and, upon finding him, sent the child to PPGH via ambulance, where Hodgkins declared the child deceased.
Hodgkins said he sent the child’s body to Southwest Medical Examiners, in Dallas, for an autopsy.
According to BRA Public Information Judi Pierce, the boy’s body was found outside the designated swim area at Sandy Beach Park.
“It is believed that the boy’s parent searched for him for some time before calling 911,” she added.
The Palo Pinto County Sheriffs Office dispatch log indicates the boy’s father called dispatch at 3:41 p.m. Sunday.
Shortly before responding to the call regarding Terasas’ disappearance, BRA Rangers and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Game Wardens recovered the body of Lubbock resident Lindsey Culver, 27, at Hells Gate Cove, Pierce said.
Culver reportedly was swimming from a boat in the cove during the day, Saturday. PPCSO dispatch received a call about her disappearance at 9:11 p.m. that night just before the fireworks show was set to begin. Palo Pinto County Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace Shawn Humphries, who was called to the scene, said the BRA “raised the flag [indicating that] she was missing at that time.”
Before cancelling the annual display – which Humphries said drew an estimated 200 to 300 boats to the Hells Gate vicinity Saturday night – he said the BRA and TPWD went “boat-to-boat” to each boat.