Fisherman's body found: From rescue to recovery
Pleasure Acres Lake, Smith County — Last night KETK was first to bring you news of a missing fisherman at Pleasure Acres Lake in Smith County.
Around midnight last night the search was switched from rescue to recovery.
We spoke with a couple, Richard and Teresa Burton, who identified the missing fisherman as Justin Thore.
Richard Burton lives near Pleasure Acres Lake. Burton met Justin Thore and his girlfriend Melena while he and his wife were washing their truck. Burton said the couple was homeless and asking for change when Burton and his wife offered them food and ride home.
Once they pulled up to the abandoned house in the woods, he said, "we started to pull away, my wife and I started to say yah know what, we see how bad off they are, even though we're bad off right now were not as bad as that, and we took them in."
Thore and his girlfriend had been living in the Burton's trailer next to their home for over a month.
Burton said he had been teaching Thore how to fish, since he couldn't get a job due to his "condition." Burton told KETK that Thore was epileptic and would have seizures sometimes when they would go out on the boat.
However, Burton said he taught him how to fish and clean the fish, so that he could go out on his own. He said that he would go out and return around seven o'clock with fish for everyone to eat for dinner.
We are told that on Tuesday morning Thore's girlfriend left him to go move in with her parents and Richard Burton described Thore as "distressed." Teresa Burton said she told Thore, "Sometimes when you love somebody you have to let them go."
Richard Burton told KETK that Thore went fishing in the morning and when he didn't return the couple reported him missing shortly after seven o'clock on Tuesday night.
We spoke with Captain Quint Balkcom, Game Warden, who told KETK, "We found the boat anchored about twenty yards off the lily pad in the lake and when we came upon it it had water obviously for drinking like it had been occupied, some partially eaten food, pole in the water, like he had been fishing."
Balkcom said that they recovered the body this morning around 9:30am and it appears to be a drowning but it is under investigation until they receive the autopsy results back from Dallas in a week or two.
Burton said, "Yesterday was so hot and I wish I went with him and it wouldn't have happened because he had at least two seizures or more than that when I was out there fishing with him teaching him" He also said, "It's so tough getting through these lily pads, that you're a solid sweat takes twenty minutes to get outside these lily pads before you start fishing and i guess he was offside the lily pads and probably had a seizure is what were thinking right now."
The Burton's hope that more people will help homeless people in need, Richard Burton said, "so many people just bypass people like that, were Christian people and we got good hearts and I wish there were more people out there like that."