Houston Co. authorities release victims' names in drowning incident

Houston Co. authorities release victims' names in drowning incident

HOUSTON COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - On Monday, Searchers found the last of four bodies in a multi-victim drowning incident that occurred in Houston County Sunday afternoon.

A Texas Parks and Wildlife dive team found the last body, that of an older man, at 10:10 a.m.

Houston County Chief Deputy G.P Shearer said that the victims are all from the general Houston area. They have been identified as Jaun Cantu, mid 50s, Amy Mendez, 47, and Sebastian Chavez, 6. The fourth victim, who was recovered Monday was identified as Antonio Gutierrez, 49.

"This is a tragic event, and it was devastating to he family," Shearer said.

Shearer said on Sunday that a family rented a canoe at the Houston County Lake near Grapeland Sunday afternoon and were due to return at 4 p.m. that afternoon, but they never did. He said witnesses saw the foursome in the canoe and that the child was wearing a life preserver.

"Game wardens found three of the four life preservers floating in the water and can only speculate that the child's vest may have not been applied or attached properly," Shearer said. "Water is an inherent danger. You want to always have your life jacket and wear your life jacket. It's recommended and use extreme boater caution."

TP&W Game Warden Zakary Benge said it looks as though the canoe they rented may have taken on water or capsized. Authorities found the canoe submerged near one of the victims.

"What made it challenging is not knowing where the victim's actually went into the water," Benge said. "We are dealing with a large area, trying to find a small target."

Three of the four victims' bodies were recovered Sunday.

The family members of the victims were nearby at a family gathering when the drownings occurred.

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