Missing Crossville, Tenn., man found dead at Fall Creek Falls

Fall Creek Falls State Resort Park officials found the body of a man near the park's Nature Center.
photo Bledsoe County, Tenn.

A missing 49-year-old Crossville, Tenn., man was found dead Tuesday morning at Fall Creek Falls State Resort Park, west of Pikeville, Tenn.

On Monday, Martin Jimenez Gonzales and his family had been swimming in the area of the falls behind the park's Nature Center when he disappeared, according to Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation spokeswoman Kelly Brockman.

"This is just a sad situation just a family trying out to cool off," Brockman said Thursday.

"Since no one actually saw him go under, an autopsy is being performed to see if he had drowned or maybe fallen and hit his head on the rocks," Brockman said.

No foul play is suspected, she said.

"As always in these situations, we are saddened by the loss of this man [for] his family and friends and our hearts are with them," Brockman said. "Our park rangers, along with the other agencies, worked throughout the night to give the family closure, and it wasn't the news that we like to share."

The incident happened near the swinging bridge over Cane Creek on the trail leading away from the back of the Nature Center to Cane Creek Falls and Cane Creek Cascades.

State parks officials say it's important to be careful when enjoying Tennessee's mountains and narrow, winding trails.

"We've had a ton of injuries and 'carry-outs' at North Chick," Brockman said of the North Chickamauga Creek Gorge State Natural Area west of Soddy-Daisy.

Officials warn visitors to stay on marked trails and to be especially careful when stepping on wet rocks in or near bodies of water. Travel with a companion and be sure to take along food, water and a trail map.

Contact staff writer Ben Benton at bbenton@timesfreepress.com or on Twitter twitter.com/BenBenton or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ben.benton1 or 423-757-6569.