Body found in Tunica is Corps cook’s

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 4, 2003

[09/03/03]The body of a Corps of Engineers cook who apparently fell from a towboat was found Tuesday afternoon in the Mississippi River in Tunica County.

The man was identified as William James, 48, of Clinton, said Michael Logue, public affairs officer with the Vicksburg District of the Army engineers. James, who had been employed by the Corps for 23 years, was on the Motor Vessel Lipscomb, based in Vicksburg.

Logue said rangers from the Corps-operated Sardis Lake found James’ body about 4:30 p.m. about 20 to 50 yards from the landing where the Lipscomb was working as part of a team placing articulated concrete mats on the riverbank to fight erosion. The location is at Mhoon Landing, which is in Tunica County and about 250 river miles upstream from Vicksburg.

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Logue said James’ body was taken to a Brandon funeral home and an autopsy was planned for tonight.

He said crewmembers noticed James was missing at about 4 Saturday afternoon.

After crewmen searched the Lipscomb and other barges and boats in the fleet, a report of a missing man was made to the U.S. Coast Guard office in Memphis about 5 p.m. Saturday.

A search was begun and help was secured from the Corps rangers at Sardis and Arkabutla lakes, the Tunica County Sheriff’s Department, the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks and the Yazoo Mississippi Delta Levee Board.

Logue described the Mississippi River at Mhoon Landing as wide and dangerous.

He said there is no information on how James ended up in the river, but added foul play is not suspected.