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DNR releases names of those who drowned Sunday
Lake Lanier, Chattahoochee claim four in three incidents
Emergency personnel respond to a drowning on Sunday evening at Old Federal Campground Park off Jim Crow Road in South Hall County. - photo by CHARLES PHELPS/ FCN Regional

CUMMING — Two of the three drownings that occurred Sunday in Lake Lanier were on the Forsyth County side.

According to the state Department of Natural Resources, a father and son from Lilburn drowned about 2 p.m. near what’s commonly referred to as Three Sisters Island, in the vicinity of Buoy 13.

The victims were identified by DNR as Leonel Torres, 50, and son Elton Torres, 15.

According to Scott Cagle of Hall County Fire and EMS, it was initially believed the two had been on a raft that had overturned, but it was later determined the subjects were “playing with a ball."

“The ball went into the water and a juvenile went in after it and became distressed,” said Cagle, adding that the father then went in after the juvenile. They did not resurface.

Hall County Fire Services and Marine Rescue 1, along with other agencies, were dispatched to the area.

Both bodies were retrieved — the first at 2:34 p.m. and the second at 2:43 p.m. — and taken to Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville.

Later in the afternoon authorities were called to Old Federal Campground Park near Oakwood on the Hall side of Lanier.

According to Mark McKinnon, public affairs officer for DNR law enforcement, a 20-year-old man from Illinois disappeared after falling into deeper water while walking with a group of friends along a sandbar from the beach to a nearby island.

The friends were not able to find the man, identified as Beto Silva of Peoria, Ill., man, who was under water for more than an hour. Rangers used sonar to locate the body, which Hall divers retrieved, according to McKinnon.

McKinnon said Silva’s surviving brother told authorities that he lived in Gainesville part of the year, but Peoria was his permanent address.

A third water incident occurred late Sunday on the Chattahoochee River in Fulton County.

According to McKinnon, a man disappeared while swimming in the river at night. The search was postponed until Monday morning due to darkness.

The body of the man, whose name has not been released pending notification of next of kin, was recovered at 9:45 a.m. 


Charles Phelps of the FCN regional staff contributed to this report.