SCOTT CITY, MO (KFVS) - The Scott County Sheriff's Department is reporting that a missing Scott City man has been found dead.
According to Sheriff Rick Walter, authorities found the body of 23-year-old Zackary Johnston in the water around 4:45 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 20.
Deputies believe he was walking on thin ice when it broke and he fell through.
"As cold as what it's been with all the water and ice that's very hard on the body anyways," Walter said. "So if a guy falls and slips through the ice and into the water it's going to be hard to recover."
Walter said it was not the outcome searchers were hoping for, but he commends all the search and rescue teams' work.
He said it was especially nice to see how many of Johnston's family and friends waited out in the cold to show their support.
"This was a very sad day, not only for the family but the community," Walter said.
Walter said no foul play is suspected. Scott County Coroner Scott Amick believes Johnston was overcome by hypothermia.
According to Sheriff Walter, they first received a call at around 9:31 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 20 regarding a missing person, Zackary Johnston.
According to family and friends, Johnston went hunting on Tuesday evening and had not been heard from since.
Sheriff Walter said the last contact anyone had with Johnston was at about 4 p.m. on Tuesday.
Sheriff's office personnel and Scott City police responded to a rural area north of Scott City and found Johnston's vehicle, which the sheriff said was covered with snow.
Once Johnston's vehicle was found, Sheriff Walter said his office requested assistance from area agencies to help search.
During the search, Sheriff Walter said personal items belonging to Johnston were found, which helped them focus on a more concentrated area to search.
As the search continued into the afternoon hours, he said they were contacted by fishermen in a boat who said they spotted what appeared to be additional personal items.
Searchers were directed to that area and they continued the search. That's where they later found Johnston's body in the water.
The following agencies sent equipment and personnel to help with the search:
- Sikeston Department of Public Safety
- Cape Girardeau County Sheriff's Office
- Scott City Police Department
- Scott City Fire Department
- North Scott County Ambulance Service
- NBC Fire Department
- Cape Girardeau Fire Department
- Missouri State Highway Patrol
- Scott County Coroner's Office
- Scott County chaplains
- American Red Cross
- Scott County Sheriff's Office
Sheriff Walter said approximately 80 law enforcement, fire, rescue and emergency medical service personnel responded to help find Johnston.
He said he wanted to sincerely thank all the agencies and their personnel for their quick response, support and hard work. He said he is also thankful to community volunteers that showed up, and all those that called offering their support and prayers.
Walter said his office will continue to keep family and friends in their prayers during this difficult time.