Body found in Hopewell confirmed as missing boater

Posted by Phil Riggan – email

HOPEWELL, VA (WWBT) -  The body recovered from the Hopewell Marina area on Wednesday has been confirmed by the medical examiner as that of missing boater Vernon R. Barnette, Jr., 48, of Hopewell.

Barnette had gone fishing the evening of December 10, 2010. His family reported him missing and his boat was found adrift and recovered the morning of December 11.

An extensive search of the Appomattox and James rivers and shoreline was launched. Conservation Police Officers received assistance from the Hopewell Police Department; Prince George Police Department; Chesterfield Fire and Rescue; and the U.S. Coast Guard. The Department's dive team used side scanning sonar but the search was scaled back on December 13, 2011, with periodic patrols after that.

On Wednesday, at approximately 10 a.m., the Harbor Master observed a body floating in the Appomattox in the vicinity of the City Marina. It was recovered by Hopewell Fire and Rescue personnel and transported to the Medical Examiner's Office in Richmond where an autopsy was performed. The Medical Examiner has determined that the cause of death was accidental drowning.

Copyright 2011 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.