Police have identified a Wilson man who is thought to have drowned at Lake Wilson on Wednesday.
Jeremy M. Tyler, 32, has been the subject of a search ever since he jumped into the lake near the dam late Wednesday afternoon.
Witnesses said Tyler jumped into the water and was overtaken by the water’s currents.
According to a news release from Wilson police spokesman Sgt. Steven Stroud, officers were dispatched to Lake Wilson at 4:21 p.m. Wednesday regarding a possible drowning.
“When officers arrived, they spoke to reporting parties who stated that Tyler voluntarily went into the water and was overtaken by the water’s current,” Stroud said in the release.
Stroud said first responders began rescue operations but were unable to locate the victim.
Searchers used personal watercraft downstream from the spillway at the Lake Wilson dam and walked along the water’s edge.
Current was swift in the area due to recent heavy rains.
The search for Tyler went on all night Wednesday through Thursday morning and was discontinued in the evening Thursday.
The Wilson Police Department, Wilson Fire/Rescue Services, Wilson County EMS, Wilson County Emergency Management and the Bailey Volunteer Fire Department provided assistance with search operations downstream from the lake to the Elizabeth Heights subdivision but could not locate Tyler.
“The investigation into the incident has determined that Tyler voluntarily went into the water and was overcome by the heavy current flowing from the dam,” Stroud said in the release. “The high volume of water flowing from the dam hindered operations yesterday. Today, with the assistance of the city of Wilson Water Department, water levels were dropped so that search/rescue operations could proceed safely and accurately.”
Stroud said Lake Wilson was closed to the public while rescue operations were underway but now that the search has been discontinued, the lake has reopened.
“It’s sad,” said Dean Etheridge, of Wilson, who knew Tyler.
“He was 32, but he had the mentality of a 20-year-old. He did what he thought would be fun at the moment.”
Etheridge said last Tuesday he let Tyler stay in a small house in Etheridge’s yard in exchange for Tyler painting the inside of the building.
Tyler liked to fish and would often do so at Lake Wilson.
Etheridge said he called Tyler’s mother at 9 o’clock Wednesday evening to report what had happened.
Etheridge said Tyler wasn’t employed but he was a smart worker.
“He’d go around and ask people in the neighborhoods if they needed work and people allowed him to do work,” Etheridge said.
“It’s tragic,” Etheridge said. “I would say he was as happy as he had been in a long time. I hope when the water goes down, they find him.”
Police ask anyone with information about the incident to call 252-399-2323 or call Crime Stoppers at 252-243-2255.