Body pulled from lake
SEARCHING Meridian firefighter Tavaras Smith, right, helps dock a boat Tuesday afternoon at Lake Okatibbee. Private boat owner Billy Griffith, standing, participated in the search for Concetta Cron. Also shown on Griffith's boat are, from left: diver Ricky Lester of the Meridian Fire Department; Austin D. Check of Bailey Volunteer Fire Department; and diver Allan Dover of Bailey VFD and the Lauderdale Emergency Management Agency. Photo by Carisa McCain / The Meridian Star
By William F. West / community editor
June 26, 2002
Rescuers found the body of a 16-year-old girl early today at Okatibbee Lake. Concetta Cron was boating with her father, Terrell Pickett Jr., and a friend, Michael Hardy, Monday night when she fell into the water.
Emergency workers received the E-911 call about 8 p.m. and the search for Cron has continued non-stop ever since, as volunteers joined professionals in an around-the-clock effort.
Clarence Butler, director of the Lauderdale Emergency Management Agency, said Cron's body was discovered floating 350 to 400 yards from the spillway about 6:10 a.m.
The accident occurred during a summer time outing.
Butler said Cron was not wearing a life jacket. He said the body has been given over to Coroner Marl Cobler, and that Cobler and Sheriff Billy Sollie will make the decision about whether an autopsy will be performed.
Butler said Pickett and Hardy were on the scene Tuesday night and that Pickett had returned this morning. Butler said Pickett was "very, very hurt."
Family members maintained a lakeside watch on Tuesday, saying prayers and hoping Cron would be found alive.
On Tuesday morning, Cron's grandmother, Glenda Pendergest, and an aunt, B.J. Childress, were among those waiting on the Pine Springs side of the lake in northwest of Meridian.
Cron was a student at Union High School.
Brantley said Cron came to the community in January 2000, having moved from Alaska.
Family members praised the efforts of the divers, rescuers and law enforcement officers.
Robertson, a Neshoba County native, stood quietly at the lakeside Tuesday, a cigar in one hand, watching divers search the lake.
Monday's accident not the only fatality to stun Union High School and its 250 students. In the spring of 2001, student Richard Hardy died as a result of a being thrown from a horse out in the country between Union and Philadelphia, Brantley said.