family hopes their loved one will be recovered soon from icy waters
Wanda English Burnett
Last week the announcement that Justin Hearn, 20, of Worthville,
Kentucky, had not survived a boating excursion on the Ohio River,
hit home to a Holton family.
Frank White of Holton, confirmed that Hearn is a cousin of his,
and they were waiting, along with many family members, to hear news
of their loved one.
According to Gary Catron, public information officer for the Indiana
Conservation Officers, Hearn went missing after the boat he and
two friends were waterfowl hunting from took on water and then sank
in the Ohio River on Monday, December 13. He noted they were about
2.25 miles upstream of Florence, Indiana.
About 10:45 a.m. Switzerland County EMS, Indiana Conservation Officers
and Switzerland County Sheriffs Department personnel responded
to a 911 call. Friends with Hearn at the time, Joseph McDermott,
21, and Jeremy Pence, 20, of Worthville, Kentucky, were able to
grasp personal flotation devices and swim to shore. They then went
to a private residence for help.
It was noted that Hearn was not wearing a personal floatation device
and did not make it to shore with his friends.
Officer Catron reported that multiple agencies responded to the
scene where they searched the river and shoreline by boat, helicopter
McDermott and Pence were taken to Carroll County Memorial Hospital
in Kentucky where they were treated for hypothermia and were later
The search for Hearn was suspended just before dark that day and
resumed Tuesday morning, December 14 where boats were launched just
The bitter cold slowed the search operation, but officers did locate
the John boat the boys were in. They hoped it would provide a more
defined search area for the missing young man.
Although experts used the side scan sonar equipment, they were not
able to find Hearn.
On December 15 about 6:30 p.m. after three days of searching, the
Ohio River search and recovery operation was ended. Hearn is now
listed in the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) as a missing
person. It was reported that the family had been notified and were
in support of this decision.
White told The Versailles Republican that the mother of Hearn just
wants her son to be found. Its really heartbreaking,
he noted, as he told of the familys hopes to find their loved
one, and then the realization that he may never be found.
Catron said at least 16 agencies assisted in the search that has
now been suspended.