Man questioned in drowning at Chotard

Published 11:33 am Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A Richland man partying with a woman before she drowned at Lake Chotard has been held for questioning since Sunday, the day her body was found, Issaquena County Sheriff Richard Jones said.

The body of Colleen Parkman, 52, also of Richland, was found floating in Lake Chotard about 1:20 a.m. Sunday, said Jones. Parkman was fully clothed, in jeans and a blouse, and still had on one tennis shoe.

Jones would not release the name of the 50-year-old man being questioned but said Parkman was with him, two other men and a woman at the lake. No one else was being held for questioning.

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The sheriff said he did not believe the man being questioned and Parkman were romantically involved but did not know for sure.

The man has not been charged in Parkman’s death, and Jones would not confirm he is a suspect, but said the investigation has not ruled out foul play.

“We can’t say because it’s still under investigation,” he said. “We don’t want to rule it out at this point.”

The Mississippi Bureau of Investigations is assisting in the case.

Autopsy results confirmed that Parkman drowned, and no signs of assault or physical abuse were obvious, Jones said.

Issaquena County Coroner Angela Williams, who sent the body to the Mississippi State Crime Lab, said this morning she was not ready to release the cause of death.

“It’s still under investigation and pending toxicology results,” Williams said.

Parkman is believed to have arrived at Chotard Saturday morning. The party of five was staying in a cabin on the same property, said Jones. The group of friends had been in the tavern Saturday evening, and no arguments or altercations had been reported, he said.

Parkman’s body was discovered by competitors in a fishing contest, said Issaquena County Deputy Willie Peterson. She had identification on her person.

Chotard, an oxbow lake about 20 miles north of Vicksburg, off Mississippi 465, is a popular destination for fishing and weekend getaways with nearby cabins, condominiums, a general store and tavern.

Chotard Landing Tavern and resort owner Jerry Johnson could not be reached this morning.