A Weiss Lake fisherman on Wednesday found the body of the fifth victim of a deadly December plunge into the Coosa River in Leesburg, Ala.
Cherokee County officials said the body of 41-year-old Bobby Shore was found floating near Aubrey Island, the same location where cadaver dogs alerted several times and underwater cameras were used during previous searches, Cherokee County Coroner Dr. Jeremy Deaton said Thursday.
The recovery ends nearly three months of daily searches by members of the Cherokee County Rescue Squad.
Aubrey Island is a piece of land on the western end of Weiss Lake almost completely surrounded by the dammed-up waters of the Coosa River. There are more than 15 residences on the island that lies between Leesburg Landing, the site where the SUV went into 18 feet of water on Dec. 13, and the Alabama Power Co. power plant on the downstream end of the lake.
Deaton said it was the first day the water temperature rose above 60 degrees since the accident.
Deaton said family members were able to help identify Shore from some tattoos, and survivors of the accident who went to the scene Wednesday were able to provide identifying details about the clothing Shore wore that day.
The discovery closes the case on the crash that killed five, Deaton said. The coroner said toxicology tests on the four other bodies "were unremarkable," and he noted that Shore's probably would be unremarkable, too, if a toxicology test could have been performed.
Shore was among the three people who were thought to have made it out of the SUV after it ran off a boat ramp at Leesburg Landing. Shore's body was found a little more than a half mile downstream from the crash site.
Shore never made it to land, but Kim Learned and Brittany Nicole Leslie, who has been listed in some reports with the last name Hobson, scrambled out of the vehicle and survived. The two women were the survivors who helped to identity Shore's body this week, Deaton said.
The four who died in the crash were identified as Robert Hardin; Cheryl Hobson; her daughter, Christy Hobson; and Dale Keener, officials said.
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