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Georgia Man Found Dead in Chattahoochee

Authorities say 33-year-old Scott Leonard Rathel of Cairo had been missing since Saturday.

According to his roommates, Rathel went for a swim in the river and never resurfaced.

"It is very important to know that alcohol and swimming do not mix," says Investigator Tim Hardrick, Early County Sheriff's Office.

According to the roommate and the other adults, they had all been drinking.

Deputies say Rathel's roommates called authorities Saturday night after he went swimming and never came back to shore at the Confederate naval yard in Early County.

"We spoke with his roommate and a couple of other adults said that he went missing. Initial investigations had us search a certain area and we found out the area they were swimming out of."

Rathel's two brothers and several other family members drove across Georgia to get to the scene and identify his body.

The Early County Sheriff's Office searched for Rathel in the water for several days and eventually called the Houston County rescue team for help.

"We are all volunteers; no one is paid in our unit. To go out and assist other families and rescue squads is what we are here for and even though the work is sad, often times the reward for bringing closure to the families is what we are here for," said Wayne McKinnon, Houston County Rescue Team.

The investigation of this incident is ongoing.

Rathel's body is being shipped to Atlanta where an autopsy will be performed.

Authorities hope that will confirm the cause of death which is at this time is drowning.


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