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Probe surrounding death at lake continues

Authorities also looking into Two Mile Creek Park party

POSTED: August 9, 2014 12:03 a.m.
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Gibbs

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NORTHEAST FORSYTH — Authorities continue to investigate the presumed drowning death of a 19-year-old man, whose body was found Thursday in Lake Lanier after two days of searching.

Doug Rainwater, a spokesman for the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office, said Friday that Cody Daniel Gibbs’ body was in the custody of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, which will determine the exact cause of death.

“They are conducting an autopsy and the family is awaiting the results of that,” Rainwater said.

Gibbs, whose last known residence remains unclear, was reportedly visiting his grandmother last week in north Forsyth.

Authorities have said he was one of several people who jumped into the lake early Tuesday in an attempt to elude a Forsyth County Sheriff’s deputy who broke up their party in a remote, unpaved section of Two Mile Creek Park.

The sheriff’s office has said the party involved alcohol and marijuana and other illegal drugs. The group of about 20 — many, if not most, of whom were underage — scattered as the deputy approached.

By daylight, Gibbs was among three who remained unaccounted for, though authorities speculated they may have emerged from the water and left the park peninsula on foot or by a vehicle parked nearby.

The other two, identified only as teen girls, were found safe elsewhere many hours later.

Emergency personnel, including rangers with the state Department of Natural Resources and a dive team from neighboring Hall County, spent all day Tuesday and Wednesday using sonar to search that area of the lake in northeast Forsyth.

Gibbs’ body was found at 7:15 a.m. Thursday, floating in a cove near where Wednesday’s search had taken place.

Friends and family have set up an online account where donors can give money to help with Gibbs’ funeral expenses.

According to information on the account page, Gibbs had a daughter who was born on Thursday. 

The page also notes that Gibbs “had no life insurance” and that his family “has suffered financially over the past year and any funds that may have been available for such an emergency had to go to everyday living expenses.”

The page can be accessed at http://www.gofundme.com/cpai8c. As of Friday, more than $15,000 had been pledged through the account.

In the wake of Gibbs’ death, Rainwater said investigators have shifted their focus to the party.

“We’re looking into everything that took place Tuesday morning,” he said, noting that charges likely will be filed against some of the party-goers.

Some social media posts from those who knew Gibbs have indicated they do not believe the deputy who broke up the party went about it in the best way. 

However, Rainwater said the deputy, whose name has not been released, “used everything in his power to handle the situation appropriately.”

“There were a lot of factors that had to be weighed in that situation,” Rainwater said.

 

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