Warner Robins man feared drowned in Ocmulgee still missing

lfabian@macon.comApril 2, 2013 

A second day of searching the Ocmulgee River failed to locate the body of a missing Warner Robins man.

The family of Aaron Cross gathered about 7:30 a.m. Tuesday to keep vigil on the Ocmulgee River where he went under and presumably drowned Monday afternoon.

Cross’ mother, Michelle Raffield, sat on the bank holding a picture of her son when he was about 5 years old.

Raffield, whose husband died two weeks ago in a motorcycle accident, was supposed to be traveling Tuesday back home to California, where Cross was moving to be with her.

“He was coming home with me and he was so excited,” she said.

Cross was delaying his trip so he could say goodbye to his friends.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources launched search boats from Spring Street Tuesday morning and traveled up to Amerson River Park where Cross was last seen.

The Macon-Bibb County Fire Department dive team also was out at the river, which has risen since Monday’s accident.

“They say the river’s up 2 feet and the current is stronger than yesterday, so they might not be able to do much,” said Margaret Hickman, Cross’ grandmother and Raffield’s mother.

Hickman said they watched logs moving swiftly downstream in the current Tuesday.

“It’s so cold divers can’t go very far down. It’s dangerous for them, too.”

The water temperature played a part in the suspected drowning, said Senior Lt. Paul Edwards of the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office.

“It’ll drain the heat out of you in a few minutes,” Edwards said at the river bank.

The water temperature was 57.2 degrees Tuesday morning, a few degrees colder than Monday, Bibb deputies said.

Hypothermia can set in when the body temperature drops below 95 degrees.

Raffield said her son loved backyard wrestling and was still nursing some injuries from it, too. “Once he got in that water, things that he had injured didn’t let him fight the current,” Raffield said. Tuesday’s searched ended about 8 p.m. The search is expected to resume Wednesday morning after sunrise.

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