Milledgeville 12-year-old drowns in Oconee River

MILLEDGEVILLE, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – The body of a 12-year-old Milledgeville girl, is scheduled for an autopsy on Friday.

Wednesday evening, Tomeia Clowers’ body was recovered about 100 yards north of the Oconee River’s bridge. It is near Phase Two of the Oconee River Walk, according to Milledgeville Fire Chief, Tom Dietrich,

“She was wading, not swimming,” says Dietrich. “She got further away from the edge. We speculate, she stepped into a hole.”

The fire chief says the river’s bottom is not smooth nor flat. Agencies assisting in the search used various devices, including depth finders and sonar equipment to locate the young girl.

“Once she got in the water, the current was fast enough to pull her out into the deep,” continued the fire chief. “She went under water and was found in eight to nine feet of water. It was not far from where she went under.”

One of the relatives at the river with Clowers, was identified as her grandmother, Lucille Mitchell, said Dietrich.

“Her relatives allowed her to get in the water,” said Milledgeville Police Chief, Dray Swicord. “We do know that one of the relatives had warned her not to go out into the deep. But, kids being kids she wanted to go out a little deeper.”

Chief Swicord says he has known the girl’s family for more than 20 years.

Police officers were the first to arrived at the site where the girl was last seen, said Swicord.
“We got a call around 6:43 p.m.,” said Swicord. “The caller was hysterical saying a child was in the water and had been down there for 15 minutes. The river is not like the beach, the water is dark and you can’t see the bottom and there are obstructions in the river.”

Police called fire and rescue workers, who later joined police officers, dive and boat rescue teams in the search.

“Georgia State Patrol Dive Team assisted,” said the police chief. “They got there around 8 p.m., and they found the body.”

Clowers was pronounced dead, at 8:58 p.m., according to Milledgeville Coroner, John Gonzales.

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