NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Search crews have recovered the body of a Nacogdoches city employee from an aerator water holding area at the Nacogdoches Wastewater Treatment Plant.
Ezekiel D. Wallace's body was recovered around 10:30 p.m., Friday. An autopsy has been ordered.
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to those employees who worked with Ezekiel on a daily basis and of course a special blessing to the family during this very difficult time," said Nacogdoches City Manager Jim Jeffers.
Law enforcement spent Friday searching for a City of Nacogdoches employee who had been missing since late morning. Searchers found the lawn mower he was operating in a nine-foot-deep water holding area.
Ezekiel D. Wallace, 28, of Nacogdoches was last seen mowing the grass at the Nacogdoches Wastewater Treatment Plant on FM 1275. Co-workers discovered him missing at around 11 a.m. this morning.
Members of the Nacogdoches Fire and Police Department and Texas Parks & Wildlife game wardens were on the scene. The Community Emergency Response Team of the Nacogdoches Police Department also responded to assist.
Responders said the search was in an enclosed an controlled location, but the murkey water makes searching difficult. Many hours were spent draining the basin. "We're draining this area with pumps," said Sgt. Greg Sowell with the Nacogdoches Police. "When the water gets down to a safe level we will be putting people in there with waders to walk it."
Jeffers said any number of scenarios could have occurred. "[It was a] routine maintenance job." There were no eyewitnesses and so the particulars of what happened or why it happened, we don't know."
Jeffers said there will be a thorough investigation and the City of Nacogdoches will take preventative measures to assure a similar situation will not occur in the future.