66-year-old man found dead in creek near Houston, Bibb county line

WARNER ROBINS — Firefighters found the body of a 66-year-old man early Monday night more than two days after he fell into the Echeconnee Creek on the Bibb County-Houston County line.

William Thomas, of Sewell Circle, was found at about 5:45 p.m. about 150 yards downstream from the Ga. 247 bridge, said Houston County Fire Chief Jimmy Williams.

His wife, 64-year-old Barbara Thomas, was found about another 100 to 200 yards downstream on Saturday after their 10-foot jonboat capsized at about 11:13 a.m.

A deputy performed CPR on Barbara Thomas on the creek bank, but she didn’t survive, Williams said.

Witnesses said she was wearing a life jacket at one point, but she became separated from the lifesaving device before emergency crews found her, said Department of Natural Resources Cpl. Robert Stillwell. William Thomas wasn’t wearing a life vest, Williams said.

He used the boat a lot, Stillwell said. “He’d been a fisherman most of his life.”

Search crews spent much of Monday searching the creek, removing debris in hopes of finding William Thomas.

Cadaver dogs boarded boats, allowing the search to be narrowed to the areas where the dogs “showed interest,” Williams said.

Saturday, the water was between 10 and 12 feet deep. The creek rose by about a foot Sunday, making the water too dangerous for divers, he said. The water receded about a foot overnight Sunday, Williams said.

To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398.