Drowning Victim's Body Found

Rescuers found the body of a man who appears to have drowned in Geneva during the Festival of Rivers.

The man has been identified as 27-year old Joseph Paskel Williamson.

Witnesses say Williamson was swimming in a common swimming hole where the Pea and Choctawhatchee rivers meet.

Lt. Ricky Morgan with the Geneva Police Department says Williamson was mentally challenged and could not swim out of the rip current.

Several friends were swimming in the river as well but were able to escape.

Geneva County Fire and Rescue and Geneva Police sent out a mutual aid request for the Houston County Dive Team and Dothan Fire and Technical Rescue.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by janie williamson on May 24, 2008 at 08:34 PM
    stop pointing fingers and lets get the jod done now to protect the public from a nother drowning at the park.
  • by melinda Location: Vidor,Tx on May 21, 2008 at 07:26 PM
    Ok! That's the Janie we all know and love our family has really taken the blows when it comes to tragic events but this one really caught us all by surprise. I know these two people will love and miss their baby for the rest of their lives no matter how old this young man was he was their baby and no matter how old he would've been. This family has been through the mill behind tragic events in their lifes so people STOP!! if you wont to make a difference help Janie by stepping up voice your concerns about what is needed at these events to make it more safe not for just my cousin's that live their with their children but for all children and adults like little joe. Where we live we have the same kind of fast moving waters where danger is always lurking to find someone to take under and it does take days and days to find someone if the current is moving very fast. STOP pointing fingers at blame stand up with them to make this event safer. Together everyone can make this happen.
  • by janie Location: honoraville al. on May 20, 2008 at 05:38 AM
    now i am ready to fight back to make the event a safe place far a family with kids to go. there should be a fence around the event or it should be movied off the river. my son could swim, but i have saw little children in the river at every event i have attended there. the police dept is not to blame but the city, county and state are.one side has a fence. i guess that is there to prevent people going in without paying.i promise to all mothers if there is ever another big event there, there will be a fence to protect your child away from the water. i never want another parent to suffer a lost like i have. my son would not have been in the water if a warning had been posted, he could have read a warning but what about all the small ones that wonder away that cant read. it could have been your lost just like it was mine.i have requested a fence but if not done then i will sue and take any step i have to to see it done, not next year but now.my son stood over 6 ft tall, so no child .
  • by janie williamson Location: honoraville, al. on May 3, 2008 at 02:32 PM
    i am the mother of this great 27 year old man. he had brain damange as a baby but not to the point , like people are saying. he was a great swimmer, learn to swim in the al. river. i want to thank lt. morgan and others. kids swim there every year when they have tha fest. on the river. they even have a canoe race. we were from out of town and didnt know about the y. i dont blame the police force at all. so leave them a long. the county and town should have warnings. little joe is his nick name and if he had saw a warrany , he would not have ever went in it. stop calling him a kid. he was no kid. he took care of me and a kid wouldnt have had the knowledge to do so.thanks far all the prayers from everyone. he is gone so please let him rest in peace. lt. morgan has saw us though all of this sad time.even the furnel services. and all so thanks to the mayor far her kindness, plus every one that help recover his body.
  • by Cheryl Location: Opp, Alabama on Apr 30, 2008 at 06:18 AM
    Frist let me say my thoults and deepest prayers are you his family.He will be missed very very much.Joseph and my daughter where seeing each other.he had ask her to marrie him.He would call her just about evernight.and talk to her for a hour before bed.I was not there the day he lost his life.nether was she.I do know he was the nicest person I have ever meet and he brought happens and joy to my daughters life. this past year has been wounderful haveing him in our life and our family.And I know Joseph loved and cared for everone.He would do anything he can to help others. so please lets think about his family and friends.try to comforte them instead of causing more trouble with blaming others. We love and miss him so much.. With loving thoughts Jennifer, Cheryl, Steve, Matthew and Crystal
  • by stephanie on Apr 29, 2008 at 05:38 PM
    My prayers go out for the family. We will all miss Joseph especially me cousin because she was Joseph's girlfriend. She is taking this very hard and is just torn by the TERRIBLE news. She just found out about it yesterday... because she was in Florida spending time with some of her family and her mom had to come get her and when she got there she had to tell her the news. She was shocked and just broke down into tears. I have never met Joseph but, I have heard from Jeniffer, his girlfriend, that he was a very loving, nice, and wonderful person to be around. Jeniffer, is really sad because they were planning to get married sometime down the road. He really oved her very much!! :) Please just everyone pray for the family of Joe. Also, I believe eit's just wrong to put that he was mentally challenged because we are all challenged.
  • by TAMMY Location: GENEVA, ALABAMA on Apr 28, 2008 at 09:06 PM
    MY HEART GOES OUT TO THE WILLIAMSON'S. ALL OF OUR PRAYERS ARE WITH THEM. THERE HAVE BEEN SOME COMMENTS ABOUT THE POLICE AND THEIR FAMILES THAT REALLY BUGS ME LIKE THEM NOT DOING THEIR JOB, GETTING FAMILY MEMBERS OR FRIENDS IN FREE TO MEET STARS AND THE OFFICERS DRINKING. GENEVA POLICE DO THEIR JOB AND THEY DO IT WELL!!! I GUESS IT IS EASY TO PLACE THE BLAME ON THEM. IF IT HAD HAPPENED AT ANOTHER TIME OTHER THAN THE FESTIVAL THEN WHO WOULD EVERYONE BLAME? YES THERE COULD BE SIGNS PUT UP. BUT IS THAT GONNA KEEP PEOPLE OUT OF THE WATER? THE CURRENT IN THE RIVER IS BAD WHETHER YOU KNOW HOW TO SWIM OR NOT. I DO NOT THINK ANY ONE WAS TRYING TO MEET THE SO CALLED SUPERSTARS ON SATURDAY. MOST PEOPLE WAS THINKING ABOUT THIS FAMILY. AS FAR AS DRINKING GOES, IT HAPPENS EVERY WHERE "DRY COUNTY" OR NOT! I THINK THAT EVERYONE NEEDS TO SAY THANKS TO THESE WONDERFUL OFFICERS THAT WE HAVE IN OUR GREAT LITTLE TOWN! WHAT WOULD WE DO WITHOUT THEM?
  • by Ann Location: Geneva on Apr 28, 2008 at 02:02 PM
    I am so so sorry for what has happened. My thoughts and prayers are with this family. But why is everyone down on the police? EVERYONE knows they are suppose to respect the rivers ANY WHERE AND AT ALL TIMES. No one hates what happened any more than the citizens of Geneva. My question is: WHERE WERE HIS GUARDIANS? I hope and pray something like this would never happen to me, because I do not know that I am strong enough to handle it. But I know I could not blame the police, for something out of their control. I think they should be commended for their actions. As for as the festival if you do not like what goes on, why do you come? Is it so you can "down" the small town in which we live and love?
  • by 1st cousin-Shea Location: Millbrook Al on Apr 28, 2008 at 01:02 PM
    Again I thank you all for your prayers. I really wish that the focus will be on the FAMILY & and the prayers for them and NOT the fact that Little Joe was mentally challenged,I mean, from reports, he CHOSE to save a life,with the posibility that it may cost him his own-how many of us love that deep and CHOOSE to do that? Seems pretty smart to me! As far as the authorities, I don't know their situation,but I DO know that pointing fingers and laying blame won't bring little Joe back. God has a purpose for us all and little Joe was always a willing soul for Him. He touched so many lives-everywhere he went,that wide grin and tender heart. I know that we were all blessed by his kindness. I am sadened by our loss and know that I am a better person for having in my life. To me, Little Joe will always be "Little" (even though he stood over 6 feet)and he will always have a special place in my heart! Thanks again for your prayers!! Please post POSITVE comments,it's easier for the family! : )
  • by hello Location: geneva on Apr 28, 2008 at 12:18 PM
    Even the best swimmers have problems swimming is current challenged or not. Why is it that you are the only one that is saying anything about him saving a child. If this was the fact way hadn't any of the witnesses stated that he was saving someone. From what was said he was swimming across the river with friends and they all made it across but him. This is a sad, sad, thing. You need to stop making this worst for the family.
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